In the aftermath of Cam Rising’s knee injury during Utah’s Rose Bowl loss to Penn State at the start of 2023, speculation abounds regarding his potential return to the field this regular season. With the looming matchup against UCLA, the Utes are facing a dilemma as they navigate the absence of their star QB.
Nate Johnson, Utah’s backup QB, has stepped into Rising’s shoes admirably, creating an intriguing predicament for Bruins’ head coach Chip Kelly. As the Utes currently enjoy an undefeated record in 2023 and hold the 11th rank in the nation, Johnson’s performance has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in their success.
While Rising may not be fully recovered in time for the upcoming clash, Nate Johnson has shouldered the quarterback responsibilities commendably. This situation has left Chip Kelly in a quandary as he formulates his game plan to counter Utah’s potent offense.
On the other side of the field, UCLA has found a solution to their own quarterback woes. Dante Moore has proven to be an unstoppable force in his initial appearances for the team. The Bruins, initially unranked at the beginning of the season, have surged into the top 25 rankings, largely thanks to Moore’s exceptional performances as the confirmed full-time signal caller for the school.
The Utes’ quarterback situation remained unresolved as of Monday, but Whittingham sounded like someone preparing to go with Johnson as his starter for a second consecutive game. Kelly called Johnson “maybe one of the fastest quarterbacks in the country” while also acknowledging his dual-threat capabilities. Yet the coach noted that his team is mostly preparing for the tendencies of Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, who runs a similar scheme no matter who is playing quarterback. If Rising is able to play for the first time in eight months, it would provide a massive boost to a team seeking its third consecutive Pac-12 title.
Regardless of who the Utes decide to send out as their quarterback for the upcoming weekend, it is evident that they will pose an immediate challenge for UCLA. Coach Kelly and his roster will need to be prepared for this early-season conference test, as the battle on the field promises to be intense and unpredictable. The fate of Cam Rising remains uncertain, and the question of whether he will make a triumphant return to lead the Utes to victory against the surging Bruins is one that fans and analysts eagerly await to answer.