Utah football is 3-0 in conference play at the halfway point of the season

By Josh Newman  | Oct. 21, 2021, 5:30 p.m. | Updated: 8:36 p.m.

The University of Utah football team has reached midseason, and it has been a rollercoaster.

A preseason national ranking, two non-conference losses, the starting quarterback quitting, the death of a teammate, and contention in the Pac-12 South, maybe unlikely so given what has gone on through almost two months of play.

Either way, players, position groups and performances stand out, so let’s highlight those as the Utes head towards the homestretch of the regular season.

Offensive MVP: Cam Rising, QB

Rising wasn’t the opening day starter, but his insertion late in the third quarter at San Diego State on Sept. 18 has fueled this offense.

Through the win over Arizona State, Rising has thrown for 872 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions in roughly 14 quarters of play, including three overtimes vs. the Aztecs. The fourth-year sophomore’s QBR of 88.5 ranks him second nationally, and based on nothing but the eye test, he is seemingly getting better every week.

Against the Sun Devils, Rising was 21-for-33 for 247 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but the second half of that game saw him complete 13 of 15 passes for 140 yards and two scores.

Utah’s offensive DNA is generally cemented in the run, but Rising can sling it, and Utah is better off for it.