Who is Ben Dinucci?
On Sunday night the Eagles will host the Dallas Cowboys hoping to extend their lead at the top of the NFC East. However, preparation for Sunday's game has taken a drastic turn as the current Cowboys starting quarterback Andy Dalton is likely to miss the game with a concussion, which was caused by a disgusting hit from Washington Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic. It means third-string quarterback Ben DiNucci is likely to start the game, but who is he?
His life before College Football
DiNucci is a 23-year-old who was born in Atlanta, Georgia but grew up in Gibsonia, PA. That is a five-hour drive away from Philadelphia. He played quarterback at Pine-Richard High School and had an incredible career setting state records. In his senior year, he became the first-ever high school quarterback to throw for over 4000 yards in Pennsylvania. That season he ended with 4,269 passing yards, 46 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
DiNucci's history with current Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy goes way beyond these last six months. He once played basketball with McCarthy's son in high school, which may have influenced the team's decision to draft him.
DeNucci had originally decided to enrol at the University of Pennsylvania, but that was not where his football journey would begin.
His College Career
After uncommitting from Penn, DiNucci agreed upon a football scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh. He was redshirted in his freshman year whilst backing up the great Nate Peterman. DiNucci gained experience that year playing a series against Duke and playing on in the third quarter against Northwestern. He failed to set a great impression though as he was picked off twice in the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl.
After starting his sophomore year as the backup quarterback, he got the starting job after the Pitt starting quarterback suffered a season-ending injury. However, he struggled to make an impact and was benched in the same season. That led to his decision in transferring to James Madison University in December 2017.
During his two-year stint at James Madison, DiNucci came into his own starting all 29 games for the team. Although his debut season was a bit rocky, the new Dallas starting quarterback's final year in college was a good one. He threw for 29 touchdowns and completed 71% of his passes and was awarded All-CAA, CAA Offensive Player of the Year after leading the team to a 14-1 record. They lost to North Dakota State and Trey Lance in the FCS Championship Game, but DiNucci's senior year was one of grave improvement.
DiNucci was drafted by the Cowboys in 2020 during the seventh-round. Having started the season as the third-string quarterback and possible practise squad player, the former JMU quarterback has now found his way to being the team's starter. Albeit in horrid fashion with injuries to Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton.
Last Sunday he made his NFL debut against the Washington Football Team and had a quiet afternoon. He completed two of his three passes for 39 yards and completed his first-ever attempt to Amari Cooper for a 32-yard gain. He was sacked three times though and fumbled on his first-ever snap after a miscommunication on a toss to Ezekiel Elliott.
It is the third time in his career that DiNucci is starting thanks to the injuries of the player above him, meaning he will be no stranger to the situation. DiNucci will be a vulnerable target behind what is a terrible offensive line, and it something Jim Schwartz must take advantage of. There must be a lot of pressure, and the defensive line needs to hit and get to him early. This game could not have fallen into place any better for the Eagles, but they must take advantage and be clinical all night.