Utah Football Team Hitting Stride, Eyeing Repeat Championship

Oct 20, 2022, 10:59 AM
Kyle Whittingham - Cam Rising - Utah Utes...
Head coach Kyle Whittingham (L) and quarterback Cameron Rising #7 of the Utah Utes celebrate the team's 38-10 victory over the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Conference championship game at Allegiant Stadium on December 3, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah is getting a much-needed off week after defeating then-undefeated USC, 43-42. The time off is great as letdowns can happen after an emotional and high-stakes game.

The win against the Trojans keeps the Utes in a good position to return to the Pac-12 title game.

Getting the chance to play for another Rose Bowl basically requires a Pac-12 title. The team all believed they could get the win over the Trojans. Utah defensive lineman Devin Kaufusi joined UnRivaled for his weekly appearance and shared what head coach Kyle Whittingham said before the game.

“We believe. Coach [Kyle] Whit[tingham] said before leaving the locker room said, ‘we believe that we can go out and win this game,'” Kaufusi said. “We believe in each other, the offense will do their thing. Believing that the offense will go down and score, defensively we will get a stop, the offense will score again and we will get another stop. That is the plan and belief we have.”

This Ute team has been in similar situations before, even as recently as last year. This type of win is not out of the norm for Whittingham’s guys.

Will Utah Football Win Another Championship?

The Utes 2022 season is very similar to last year. A few early season hiccups but then the team started rolling and is playing really good football. The team has also had a few issues with injuries to star players like tight end Brant Kuithe.

Dalton Kincaid is already considered an elite tight end, and he had one of the best performances by any pass-catcher in college football this year with 16 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown, and he had a 100 percent catch rate.

“I think any big win is definitely not just enjoyed but valued for what it does for the rest of the season,” Kaufusi said. “It gives us confidence, maturity; it builds chemistry. It reinforces that belief and reassurance.”

There is still a lot of football left but if the Utes can channel the energy and importance of every game the rest of the way, they will be a threat to win the Pac-12 for the second consecutive year.

Cam Rising Is A Special Dude

Quarterback Cam Rising is the key leader the Utes need if they want to repeat at champions. It is not only his play on the field but he has a great personality and is a beloved guy in the locker room.

Last year, Rising was named a team captain while not being the starting quarterback prior to the season, which is not the norm.

“He is the heart and soul of the team. Not just being the quarterback but as a person,” Kaufusi said. “He gets it done the right way and manner with his own personality that is contagious. The whole team rallies behind him and it creates the atmosphere of, ‘yeah, we are in the middle of the season and it’s a grind,’ but we are here to enjoy the days we got together.

“More importantly, seeing it all pay off and that is the biggest joy and that is what makes Cam special, his love for the game.”

Rising was named the starter in the 2020 season but suffered a season-ending injury in the opener and then in 2021 lost the starting job to Charlie Brewer. During that time, Rising stuck it out and got his chance and he has proven himself as a great leader and one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-6 p .m. on 1280 AM and 97.5 FM, or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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