Zac Cunha overcomes injury to play 6th season
When Zac Cunha was 5 years old, he received his first football jersey. His dad, Larry, asked him what number he wanted, but Cunha was too excited for his jersey to care about it, so his dad helped him pick No. 16 because Cunha’s birthday is May 16. Cunha still wears No. 16 as quarterback for the Beavers.
During his six-year collegiate career, Cunha has played 42 games and holds Minot State career records with 1,183 pass attempts, 619 pass completions, 7,444 passing yards, and is second in touchdown passes with 46 at the time of publication. 2014 was Cunha’s unforgettable year when he broke 300 yards passing on two separate occasions, was named team captain, and earned Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference All-Academic honors.
Cunha earned his undergraduate degree from Minot State in May 2017 with majors in math education and physical education and a minor in statistics. Currently, he is completing his master’s degree in sport management while playing his final college football season at Minot State.
“I enjoy playing with my teammates — enjoy working with my coaching staff. It makes it easy to come to work every day,” he said.
Cunha is from Rocklin, Calif., located right next to Sacramento. His dad, who played college football for a school in Montana, encouraged his only child to play football from a young age. Cunha started playing in fourth grade and started tackle football in seventh grade. He was recruited to Minot State in 2012 by former head coach Paul Rudolph.
After his success in 2014, Cunha had to leave the field for almost two years due to injuries. In the first of game of the 2015 season, Cunha broke his collarbone which stopped him from playing the remainder of the season and for which he received a medical redshirt. After a comeback effort in 2016, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the second game of the season. This would have put an end to Cunha’s college football career if he hadn’t received a second medical redshirt, which allowed him to play this year — his sixth year for MSU.
“There were good days and bad days,” Cunha said. “On the bad days, you’re kind of depressed and not really feeling like doing much. When you are working for something throughout the year and it gets taken always from you, it hurts you a little bit. Luckily, I have awesome parents and friends that helped me out and got me through it.”
Entering his final season after two years of injuries, Cunha is glad that he got the opportunity to play again. He said this season has been little frustrating at times when MSU was close to winning several games but knows the whole team is working hard to get better every day.
“The competition inside the team is the highest since I’ve been playing for MSU,” Cunha said. “That makes it fun to practice since teammates push you to get better every day.”
When asked about his next step after Minot State, he laughed and answered, “I have a few plans but haven’t decided yet. Let’s see.”
The Beavers play their final home game of the season at Herb Parker Saturday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m.