No Cam Rising, and no Brant Kuithe for Utah. (Photo via Utah athletics)
A year ago in Gainesville, Utah and Florida played a classic battle that came down to the wire, ending when Utah QB Cam Rising threw a game-losing interception to Amari Burney in the end zone.
Utah has had this revenge date circled on their calendar ever since, but that quest for revenge will have to come without their star. Rising- who tore an ACL the day after New Year’s Day in the Rose Bowl- has been trying in vain to make it back into game shape for tomorrow night’s tilt under the lights, but today it’s been made pretty clear that that’s not going to happen.
Pete Thamel reported for On3 that Rising is doubtful to play against the Gators, which would make sense logically. Even for the quickest of healers, an ACL surgery takes a solid eight months at an absolute minimum to return from, and for the overwhelming majority of athletes, it’s at least nine months; for Cam Rising, it’s been about seven and a half months since the surgery. That tells the tale of a situation in Salt Lake City in which Cam Rising simply is not healthy enough to play football.
Without Rising available to play, Bryson Barnes is next in line for the title of starting QB. He was thrust into action against Penn State in the Rose Bowl this past January, and didn’t do badly for the circumstances, completing 10 of 19 passes for 112 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. He also played extensively against Washington State last year, completing 17 of 27 passes for 175 yards and a TD in the Utes’ victory over the Cougars.
There’s also the unknown situation of tight end Brant Kuithe, who had a monster game against Florida last season. He, too, is expected to sit out because of the exact same reason. Kuithe tore his ACL late last September. Without Kuithe, Landen King is expected to get the nod.
Without the two of them, Utah is a much different team. That’s not to say this game will be easy for Florida- it’s still a road game in an unfamiliar setting with a new type of obstacle to prepare for in the altitude of the Rocky Mountains- and Utah’s respective backups in Barnes and King will be raring to go. But as far as the mano-y-mano combat on the field is concerned, this is certainly a pair of malignant blows to Utah’s dreams of payback.