On the typical college campus, the starting quarterback is one of the most recognizable guys around.
The same couldn’t be said about redshirt freshman Cooper Rush, if not for his unmistakable red hair.
“I haven’t had much (attention on campus) at all,” Rush said.
He isn’t boisterous. In fact, his press conferences could put you to sleep. He doesn’t get excited on the field. Even when his mother hugged him in excitement after last week’s game, Rush didn’t get swept in the moment, and his monotone demeanor remained.
Besides leading on the field, Rush is also a leader in the classroom, with a 3.91 GPA. A spokesperson for the team mentioned the new starting quarterback consistently records the best scores on weekly tests on the upcoming defense.
His smarts and strong arm not only allow him to make the plays Alex Niznak can’t and the his counterpart Nick Sherry at UNLV hasn’t been able to make, it also allows sophomore running back Saylor Lavallii to get in the open and run for yards.
A mix of composure, brains and a cannon for an arm, Rush could be exactly what the Chippewas need at the quarterback position this season.
With all of the injuries (Cody Kater is out for 3-5 weeks and Zurlon Tipton and Jake Olson for the season), perhaps the mellow Rush is just what the doctor ordered.
Down 13-0 in a downpour, he entered the game last week against New Hampshire and took a team that had around 20 yards of total offense late in the second quarter, and led it to more than 400 total yards of offense.
He also wasn’t fazed by the deficit as he cut into the Wildcats’ lead, tied the game, and finally led the Chippewas to a game-winning drive.
“Hopefully, we just keep winning,” he said. “I just have to keep moving the ball; that’s my job and hopefully we get the W.”
The previous two quarterbacks struggled at the start of their games, in fact, neither made it to halftime, albeit for different reasons. Rush is looking to start strong in his first outing as the man behind center.
“I just have to do the job the offense needs,” Rush said. “I just need to get completions and get things going.”
When the pressure is on, whether the team is down 13 points in the rain or tied with five minutes left, a quarterback can’t get frazzled. Rush didn’t, and doesn’t expect that to change.
Heading to Las Vegas this weekend, Rush could care less about the bright lights and attractions around the game.
All he cares about is what happens on the field.
“He’s very serious and very focused,” said head coach Dan Enos.