Report: Bryson Barnes To Start Against Cal
Oct 14, 2023, 8:14 AM
SALT LAKE CITY – It appears Utah football is making a change at signal caller again, opting for Bryson Barnes against the Cal Golden Bears according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel.
Thamel’s post on X went on to say that former starter Nate Johnson will also continue to play a role as a change of pace guy.
Utah deployed a very similar game plan to open the season against Florida and most of Baylor before giving the reigns fulltime to Johnson for the past three games. However, Utah has struggled to move the ball consistently under the young freshman making the move back to Barnes while continuing to wait for starter Cam Rising to finish recovering from a knee injury.
Source: Utah is expected to start Bryson Barnes at quarterback against Cal today. Nate Johnson is expected to play again as a change-of-pace quarterback, the same way Utah began the season.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) October 14, 2023
More About Bryson Barnes
The college football world first became aware of Barnes during Utah’s first Rose Bowl appearance in 2022 after Rising suffered a concussion against Ohio State.
The game was already entertainment gold to that point with both sides in a shoot-out after the Utes had jumped to a sizable lead early in the contest. Barnes’ entrance into the game pushed it a notch further.
Most teams reel when their leader goes down the way that Rising did, but the Utes under Barnes were undeterred and wasted zero time putting the Buckeyes on notice.
Backup QB Bryson Barnes finds Dalton Kincaid for the 15-yard TD to tie the Rose Bowl at 45-45! 🤯
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) January 2, 2022
Unfortunately for Barnes and the Utes there was too much time left on the clock and tOSU was able to kick a game-winning field goal to win the game, 48-45, but it didn’t change the fact a legend was born.
Utah football opened up their 2023 season hosting the Florida Gators at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes were unfortunately without starter Cam Rising who was still recovering from an ACL tear earlier in the year against Penn State at the Rose Bowl.
In Barnes’ second career start, he wasted little time letting everyone know Utah would be ok under his leadership dropping back and launching a 70-yard touchdown pass to receiver Money Parks in his first play of the game.
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The Utes went on to beat the Gators, 24-11, and Barnes was given a scholarship for his efforts after having participated on the team the previous two years as a walk-on.
Barnes did struggle a lot against Baylor which prompted the move to Johnson for the past few games. However, Johnson had similar struggles against Oregon State just before the BYE prompting a move back to Barnes that looked fairly promising.
Barnes unfortunately was popped hard enough against the Beavers to send him to the hospital during the Utes’ first loss, and left some question marks as to when and if he’d be able to return to play for a depleted Utah offensive unit.
The fact that Barnes is cleared to go according to Thamel is a pretty big deal for a team that has had terrible luck with injuries in 2023.
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on X, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports
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