CARSON, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes may have lost a game, but they also may have found a new starting quarterback.
Cam Rising led a furious fourth quarter comeback, as Utah erased a 14-point deficit, only to lose to San Diego State on a failed 2-point conversion in triple-overtime, 33-31.
This is just the third non-conference regular season loss for Utah since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. The other losses were to Utah State in 2012 and BYU last week.
After compiling just 91 total yards in the first half, Rising replaced a struggling Charlie Brewer in the third quarter, and completed 19 of 32 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns.
“It was an amazing feeling to fight back from the situation we were in and dig ourselves out of that hole,” said Rising.. “It was a great feeling, but we’ve just got to finish.”
Trailing 24-16, Rising tied the game with 16 seconds left on a 4-yard TD pass to Theo Howard. The 2-point conversion to Solomon Enis tied the score at 24.
“He’s a competitor,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said of Rising. “Doesn’t take anything away from Charlie, but Cam came in and gave us that spark with his legs as well as his arms. We needed a spark. We were looking for something, and we’ve got an excellent No. 2 quarterback in Cam Rising, and why not give him a shot?”
Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime, with Rising finding Jaylen Dixon for the 25-yard game-tying touchdown to send the game to double overtime.
Both field goal kickers missed field goal attempts in the second overtime. Jadon Redding had also missed an extra point for Utah in regulation.
After quarterback Lucas Johnson caught a 2-point conversion in the third overtime from Jesse Matthews to give SDSU a 33-31, the Utes appeared to tie the game again, but Rising’s pass to Connor O’Toole hit the ground, and was overturned upon review.
Britain Covey scored the only touchdown for the Utes in the first half on an 80-yard punt return. He also caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Rising in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 24-16.
Brewer, making his third start for the Utes, completed 14 of 26 yards for 104 yards before being pulled.
Micah Bernard led Utah on the ground with 47 yards on 17 carries. Brant Kuithe had seven catches for 58 yards, while Enis had seven grabs for 56 yards.
“We didn’t run the football very well at all,” Whittingham said. “We got beat up pretty good by their defensive front seven.”
The Aztecs pounded out 204 yards rushing on the Utah defense. Greg Bell led the way with 119 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Byrd also had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the second kick return for a score the Utes special teams have allowed in three games this season.
Johnson passed for just 44 yards for the Aztecs, but made a key 54-yard run on a keeper in his second career start.
Utah (1-2) next opens Pac-12 play Saturday at home against Washington State. Kickoff is set for 12:30 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.