A form of the Central Michigan-Western Michigan rivalry will take place this Saturday.
For the fifth time, Cooper Rush and Zach Terrell will line up on opposite sidelines. While no Victory Cannon is on the line this time, the two are playing for draft scouts and fans at the 92nd East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, FL.
The two quarterbacks have shared many commonalities throughout the years. Rush and Terrell are both four-year starters, inheriting the keys to their programs from a young age. Both quarterbacks developed throughout their careers, earning three-consecutive bowl bids from 2014 to 2016.
Off the field, both quarterbacks have demonstrated great intelligence. Rush graduated from Central Michigan last May with a 3.89 GPA in actuarial science.
Terrell earned honors for the William V. Campbell Trophy, the “Academic Heisman” by graduating cum laude in finance. The award recognizes NCAA football players that demonstrate strong athletic abilities, success in the classroom, and community leadership. Rush was also a finalist.
On the football field, Rush beat Terrell for the Cannon in 2013, but Terrell claimed victories in the other three seasons. Rush, lining up for the North, is currently the 15th ranked quarterback by CBS. Terrell, on the South, checks in right behind him at number 16.
Rush threw for 12,891 yards and 90 touchdowns in 50 starts with the Chippewas. He notably defeated Oklahoma State and successfully threw several Hail Mary touchdown passes in his college career. Rush’s seven touchdowns in the inaugural 2014 Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl remain an all-time bowl game record.
Rush was 15 yards short of breaking Dan LeFevour’s program passing yards record, but he does own the single-season passing yards record for the Chippewas, passing for 3,853 yards in 2015.
Terrell passed for 12,100 yards and 96 touchdowns as a four-year starter in Kalamazoo. In 49 starts, Terrell completed an efficient 65.5 percent of passes, including 69.8 percent his senior year. He finished his career with a 13-1 season, a MAC Championship, and a Cotton Bowl appearance.
Terrell owns the career passing yards record for the Broncos, but finished three touchdowns short of Tim Hiller’s all-time touchdown mark.
Rush and Terrell play one more time with their Central Michigan and Western Michigan helmets on before determining the future of their football careers. Both quarterbacks are projected as seventh-round picks or free agents by CBS. An impressive outing in the East-West Shrine Game or eye-opening combine numbers could alter NFL teams’ perceptions of the two MAC quarterbacks prior to the draft.
The East-West Shrine Game kicks off in St. Petersburg on January 21 at 3 p.m. EST, viewable on NFL Network. The game is sponsored by Shriners Hospitals, and many of the proceeds from the event support the organization’s children’s hospitals.