A week after leading a comeback victory against FCS opponent New Hampshire, quarterback Cooper Rush forced throws that ended as costly interceptions at UNLV on Saturday night.
Trying to mount yet another comeback in his first career start, Rush threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter that ended up being the difference in the game.
“The second interception, he was trying to force,” said head coach Dan Enos. “The first one was a freshman mistake. He threw it on the wrong shoulder.”
Rush avoided turnovers in his game action against New Hampshire, but against UNLV, he finished 23-for-46, 265 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The touchdown went to junior wide receiver Titus Davis, who finished the game with a team-high eight receptions, 116 yards and one touchdown.
Central Michigan was looking to blow things wide open in the second quarter while up 21-0. But the offense stalled in the second half, failing to score, while the defense gave up 31 unanswered points.
As soon as Rush threw his first interception, he knew what he had done wrong.
“Titus Davis was open over the top,” Enos said. “He didn’t throw it to him. He knew it as soon as he came off the field. The second one was a young guy just trying to make a play.”
Besides Davis, CMU receivers were held in check. Sophomores Andrew Flory and Jesse Kroll and junior Courtney Williams were held to two catches and under 40 yards receiving.
The game was a learning experience for the redshirt freshman quarterback, Enos said.
“It was a tough learning experience for him,” Enos said. “It was a tough learning experience for all of us. Rush will be fine; I like the way he competes.”
At the beginning of the season, Rush was listed as the third-string quarterback on the depth chart. In week one, starting quarterback Cody Kater broke his collarbone against Michigan, and second-string quarterback Alex Niznak was ineffective against New Hampshire.
CMU hoped it had found it’s starting quarterback in Rush after the quarterback carousel, but the position is still uncertain.
When asked if Niznak will see playing time next week against Mid-American Conference opponent Toledo, Enos said he didn’t know.