Mac Engel: Florida coach Dan Mullen offers optimism for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

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Head coach Dan Mullen of the Mississippi State Bulldogs hugs Dak Prescott #15 after their 38-23 win over the Auburn Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Starkville, Mississippi. - Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America/TNS

FORT WORTH, Texas — In a historic year, and season, the Dallas Cowboys’ 13.5-point spread against the Pittsburgh Steelers will not go up on their all-time mantle of shame and disgrace.

The spread for the Cowboys’ latest projected beat down, this time against the NFL’s lone undefeated team, is not the biggest gambling margin they’ve had. At least not in the last 30 years.

It’s just close.

According to my friends at, in the last 30 years the Cowboys have had three games where they were 14-point dogs, and once when they were 14.5-point dogs; there was the cherished game in 2001 when they were 18-point underdogs to the Oakland Raiders.

For what it’s worth: The Cowboys covered the spread in three of those games, and actually won one outright. In 1989, the first season of the Jerry Jones era, the Cowboys were 14-point ’dogs against the Washington Team Football — or WTF — and won in D.C. for their only win of the season.

The Cowboys are in this position for a variety of reasons, beginning with a quarterback situation so bleak it makes this current election look like a success.

The Cowboys’ QB situation is a plate of stale dog food versus a bowl of week old green peas. You have eat one.

Dak Prescott’s ankle is pointed in right direction, but only that; Andy Dalton has COVID, Ben DiNucci is a fugazi, which leaves coach Mike McCarthy to choose from Cooper Rush and Mack Brown’s buddy, Garrett Gilbert.

Career stats:

Rush: 5 games, 1 of 3 passing, 2 yards

Gilbert: 6 games, 2 of 6 passing, 40 yards

“I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! Let’s do it!”

When you are eight games into the season and you are on your fourth starting quarterback, it’s a good time to move to Siberia.

In an effort to find good news about the state of the Dallas Cowboys quarterback position, I turned to one man outside of The Star to provide some.

University of Florida head coach Dan Mullen had Dak Prescott when they were at Mississippi State from 2012 to 2015. Prescott, more than any other player, is why Mullen is now the coach at Florida.

Mullen remains in close contact with Dak, and actually believes when the quarterback returns from his fractured ankle he will be an improved player.

“I’ve talked to Dak and that’s a tragedy when that happens, when guys suffer those injuries. It’s heartbreaking,” Mullen told me on the SEC coaches conference call this week.

“It’s heartbreaking for us, the whole family. You consider him a part of your family. My wife and my kids, and we view Dak as a part of our family.

“But a guy like him, if anybody knows Dak Prescott, and what you know about him, overcoming adversity, toughness, fighting every day to be the best he can be, and overcome those things, that’s who he is.”

Dak suffered the injury on Oct. 11 against the New York Giants, which is the last time the Dallas Cowboys won a game.

They are 0-3 without Dak starting, and have been outscored 86-22 in those games.

Dak is scheduled to make a full recovery, and to be cleared to play in the spring of 2021. That’s assuming, of course, we all actually make it to 2021.

“I have no doubt, there isn’t going to be anybody to work any harder to come back than he will,” Mullen said. “I expect he’ll come back better than he left, because he’s always trying to get better and always trying to improve.”

So there you have it. A little optimistic Dallas Cowboys quarterback news.

All we need is for the 2021 NFL season to get here and we’re set.

Until then, take the Steelers to cover.


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