After getting drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round this past April, Ben DiNucci likely never envisioned himself starting this season with Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton on the roster.
Thanks to a gruesome ankle injury to Prescott and Dalton taking a late hit in the head by Washington linebacker Jon Bostic, DiNucci’s number was called on Sunday and he could be the Cowboys starting quarterback moving forward.
I still can't believe Jon Bostic wasn't suspended for this hit on Andy Dalton. pic.twitter.com/mOZcQIs8TK
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 26, 2020
Dalton is currently in the NFL concussion protocol and questionable for Week 8, so DiNucci is currently the No. 1 1 man on the Cowboys depth chart and is in line to start against Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football.
DiNucci entered the game against Washington in the third quarter and completed 2 of 3 attempts for 39 yards, with his first NFL completion going to Amari Cooper for 32 yards.
Following the game, DiNucci spoke to the Dallas media about being thrust into the spotlight on Sunday and his feelings moving forward.
“Very unfortunate that had to happen for me to get in the game,” DiNucci told reporters. “But no time for me to get nervous or any of that. My job, if I’m in there, is to do the same thing as Andy or Dak or whoever is in there. The bottom line is, football is football. It’s the same game that I’ve been playing since I’ve been in seventh grade. I couldn’t do anything else except go out there with a smile. I got in the huddle and said, ‘Let’s go’. Let’s have some fun.
“I’m not sure how all the protocols work and stuff of that nature, but if my number’s called, shoot, I’ll be the first one in the building tomorrow and the last one to leave. I’ve got to prepare like I have been for the last two months. Nothing changes. I’ve learned more from sitting in a room with Dak and Andy the last two months than I have playing the last eight years.”
The Pine-Richland graduate and former Pitt passer will obviously be nervous if he gets the call Sunday night on national television but believes he can handle the moment.
“This team drafted me for a reason, and Coach McCarthy brought me here for a reason. So if my number’s called in the future, I’m going to make sure that I do everything I can to keep this show on the road and make sure that other guys in the locker room have got as much faith in me as No. 4 and No. 14,” said DiNucci.
The last WPIAL free agent quarterback to start an NFL game was West Allegheny and Pitt grad Tyler Palko for the Kansas City Chiefs against the New England Patriots in 2011.