Don’t let the Oregon State loss fool ya, Cam Rising has brought life back into the Utes — not to mention given them a viable shot at that elusive Rose Bowl.
Flashback to Nov. 21, 2020: Utes fans had waited a painfully long time to see some football. A Pac-12 season originally not even meant to be and eventually widdled down into a miniature 6-game schedule found the young Texas transfer taking the field in red. Rising had beaten out Jake Bentley for the job; waited out those painful 11 weeks of no football, only to play a quarter — and that was it as a shoulder injury derailed everything after only 14 plays.
But Rising kept his head held high and his clipboard ready; because like it or not, that was his new role over the rest of a season the Utes would rather forget. Bentley would take over quarterback duties and didn't exactly leaving an impression along the way. Come season’s end, the graduate transfer quickly disappeared altogether, only to be replaced by another grad transfer.
Charlie Brewer’s numbers at Baylor leaped off the page. But not only that, his maturity and handsome face suggested he was everything a collegiate quarterback should be. Throughout the spring and summer, fans and the media alike were again told it was anybody’s race. But in the end, to Rising’s misfortune, the Utah coaching staff couldn’t pass up on Brewer. There was simply too much there not to hand him the game ball.
But it became clear pretty quick that whatever Brewer had been wasn’t translating to his new team. A loss to BYU personally made me doubt, but it was the following week that sent Brewer’s time in Salt Lake City into a short-lived experiment.
A non-conference trip to San Diego State saw the Utes in a stalemate, and by the fourth quarter, head coach Kyle Whittingham had seen enough. Rising was in — and the difference in pacing, accuracy and fluidity of the Utes offense flipped on almost immediately.
Like against the Beavers, Rising couldn’t quite lead the Utes to victory back in week three. Then again, three touchdowns in a three overtime loss was more than enough.
A string of conference victories to Washington State, USC and Arizona State would follow — writing on the wall that even Brewer couldn’t help but indirectly admit — bolting the program to pass over the baton.
Did it take a while to get to this point since signing all the way back in January of 2019? Yeah, but it’s OK though. He’s here now and Ute fans should be content.
They have a winner in Rising.