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Grading the Dallas Cowboys victory over the Vikings with Cooper Rush at the helm

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Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Against all doubt, Cooper Rush and the Cowboys prevailed.

The will he or won’t he play storyline surrounding Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was answered as his backup Cooper Rush played against the Minnesota Vikings. Rush was able to lead a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter thanks to a defensive stand from the Cowboys defense. Even though it wasn’t the prettiest of games, from Rush and the defense, they were able to pick up the win and at the same time give the Cowboys some stability behind Prescott.

Let’s take a look at how the Cowboys did this week from a coaching aspect and on offense and defense.

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Overall: B+

Whenever your team is able to pick up a come-from-behind victory against a worthy opponent, then your team is doing something right. The Cowboys had some missteps along the way, a dropped pass here, overthrown ball there, and some questionable penalties didn’t help either. Yet, without their spiritual leader on the field, they were able to do what many didn’t think they would in Minnesota, win. Tough teams win tough games and the good teams should be able to do it no matter who they have playing in games. That’s exactly what the Cowboys were able to do.

Coaching: A

If your team is able to pick up a win on the road without your starting quarterback, then your head coach and offensive coordinator have done a good job preparing your team. They played games with the media this week about Prescott’s status, but that kept the Vikings guessing and might have helped. The Cowboys defense was able to keep the Vikings offense off-balance thanks to some nicely timed blitzes and coverage schemes from Dan Quinn. Overall this was a strong display of coaching skills from the Cowboys this week.

Quarterback: A-

Starting in your first NFL game under the bright Sunday Night Football lights hasn’t been too kind to quarterbacks in the past, but Rush was able to get the job done. Going 24/40 isn’t a great stat, but the 325 yards and two touchdowns that came with it make up for the at times poor throws from Rush. His two turnovers dock his grade just a bit. Overall, this was a learning experience for Rush and when he goes back and looks at the tape and realizes how many passes he wasn’t set before throwing he will see something to work on. Hopefully, the Cowboys won’t have to see him take the field anytime soon, but if they do they know they have a quarterback that can win.

Running Backs: B-

The Cowboys needed a solid game out of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to take the pressure off of Cooper Rush, and they were able to make some plays to help out. Without Prescott on the field, the Vikings decided to try and take away the Cowboys running game and force Rush to beat them, so the overall output was not great. But Zeke was able to make a huge run after a catch to set up the winning touchdown, and at various other points they picked up key first downs on the ground. Zeke also pitched in with pass protection, but Pollard had a big error in that area which led to the Rush fumble.

Wide Receiver: A+

The Cowboys receivers stepped up big-time in this game and were able to help Rush. Cedrick Wilson had 84 receiving yards, a 35-yard pass, and a 73-yard touchdown. Amari Cooper had a team-high 122 receiving yards and the game-winning touchdown in the back of the endzone with 55 seconds left in the game. CeeDee Lamb did his part as well with 112 yards receiving and doing a lot of the heavy lifting early for this group. Outside of Lamb’s dropped pass, this unit stepped up and made plays when they needed. It was another strong performance at a time when they needed them the most.

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Tight Ends: C

It was an unusually quiet night from Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin this week with Schultz being the only one to catch passes. Rush didn’t use the tight ends as much in the passing game as Prescott does, so the production was low. While their presence wasn’t felt in the passing game, they were able to help in on the blocking game to give Rush time to make passes, especially when Tyron Smith went down with an injury.

Offensive Line: B-

The Cowboys offensive line was under constant attack from this Vikings defensive front thanks to Rush’s presence under center. At times they were able to give Rush time to go through his progressions, and then there were times where he was under pressure, one of which caused a sack-fumble, but that was more on Pollard missing the blitz pickup. Things got worse once Tyron Smith went down with an ankle injury as Ty Nsekhe had his struggles in pass protection. The running game was also average as they couldn’t open up big holes. But this unit held together and was able to do just enough to pull off the win against a very tough defensive front.

Defensive Line: B-

The Cowboys defensive line wasn’t showy on the night, they only had one sack by Randy Gregory, but they helped control a Vikings offense that has a lot of talent. Dalvin Cook only had 78 yards rushing and a 4.3 average carry. They managed to make Kirk Cousins uncomfortable at times and the Vikings only had 184 yards passing and scored 16 points. Overall, the stats aren’t going to blow you away although they did finish with eight QB hits, but they were able to keep things contained and stiffened when the Viking got close to scoring. They did pick up some unnecessary penalties which needs to be corrected.

Linebackers: A+

The Cowboys main linebackers, Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch, did a very good job of keeping Vikings running back Dalvin Cook in check for most of the game. They also did a good job of taking away the crossing routes and getting into the backfield to make plays in the running game. Parsons in particular was everywhere on the field getting 11 tackles with four of them for loss. The Vikings running backs are good in the passing game, but they contributed very little in this game, another testament to Parsons, Vander Esch, and Keanu Neal getting the job done. It was an outstanding effort from the middle of the defense.

Secondary: B

The streak has finally come to an end as Trevon Diggs wasn’t able to pick up an interception. They may not have had any interceptions this week but they were able to hold two very good receivers, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, in check. The Cowboys safeties were also able to make their presence felt breaking up passes as well and stopping Cook from picking up more yards. For this group, the Cowboys have to hope that the injury to Diggs isn’t too serious as they can’t afford to lose him.

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As we do every week we put together highlights from the latest Dallas Cowboys win over on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!


WATCH COWBOYS/VIKINGS HIGHLIGHTS RIGHT HERE.



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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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