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Pitt in the Pros

Ben DiNucci Expected to Start for Cowboys vs. Steelers



Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton has been dealing with the effects of a concussion suffered in a Week 7 loss to Washington that caused Pine-Richland and Pitt alum Ben DiNucci to start when the Cowboys faced the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8.

On Tuesday, Dalton got worse news, as the Cowboys placed the veteran quarterback on the COVID-19 list, which will cause him to miss the team’s game against the Steelers this Sunday. ESPN first reported the news.

Dalton, 33, signed to be the backup to Dak Prescott in Dallas this season after spending the first nine years of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, but was thrust into a larger role after Prescott was lost to a season-ending injury.

Dalton has thrown 85 times with 52 completions for 452 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions while playing in four games (two starts) with the Cowboys this season.

DiNucci been OK statistically since taking over, throwing 23 of 43 for 291 yards and no interceptions, but he’s not been able to find the end zone and the entire Dallas offense has scored just 12 points over its last two games.

The Cowboys has also had trouble protecting DiNucci. He’s been sacked seven times for a loss of 73 yards and has also lost two fumbles.

A Pine-Richland native, DiNucci spent his first three college seasons at Pitt and played 10 games in 2017 while throwing for over 1,000 yards, but lost the starting job to then-freshman Kenny Pickett. DiNucci transferred to James Madison, where he led the Dukes to the FCS title game and finished in the top five in school history in completions, passing yards and touchdowns.

The Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Veteran backup Garrett Gilbert was signed off the Cleveland Browns practice squad on Oct. 12 and is the only other quarterback on the Dallas roster. He’s thrown six career NFL passes.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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