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'Bad Moon is back': Utes starting quarterback Cameron Rising returns for senior season

Utah Utes QB Cameron Rising holds the MVP trophy after  winning the Pac-12 championship by beating the USC Trojans at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. The Utes won 47-24.

Utah Utes QB Cameron Rising holds the MVP trophy after winning the Pac-12 championship by beating the USC Trojans at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. The Utes won 47-24. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY β€” Break out the Creedence Clearwater Revival, because the bad moon is rising in Utah … again.

Utah's starting quarterback Cameron Rising will return for his senior season, the Ventura, California, native announced as part of a video released by Utah football on Monday.

Rising intended to leave after the 2022 season, and even took part in the program's senior day festivities. When asked if he had played his last game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, he said, "Yes, that's the plan."

But plans often change and the two-year starter for the Utes opted to return for another season. As the team's starter, Rising was instrumental in Utah's back-to-back Pac-12 championships and subsequent Rose Bowl berths.

So how does a three-peat sound, Utah?

Rising's return to Utah adds instant credibility to the program's hope to stay on top of the Pac-12 for another season and another potential preseason Associated Press Top 25 selection going into the 2023 season. With the Pac-12 returning several of its top quarterbacks, Rising's return keeps Utah in the mix.

An injury sustained in the third quarter of the Rose Bowl adds some intrigue to his return given the timeline for a typical recovery of that specific injury. Rising got hurt when he escaped for a run to extend a drive and was met by three Penn State defenders. When Rising attempted to stand up, he fell back to the ground and needed help from the team's medical trainers.

Rising exited the game to the team's medical tent before eventually being taken to the locker room to be checked out. When he returned to the sideline, Rising was dressed in street clothes and his night was done. It was the second straight season he did not finish the Rose Bowl game.

Following the game, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham wasn't too optimistic about the injury to his starting QB and said "it doesn't look good." While the university never made his injury public after the game, Whittingham said "it could be something that takes a while to recover from; that's not positive right now."

Rising finished the 2022 season ranked inside the top 10 in total QBR. He threw for 3,034 yards and 26 touchdowns on a 64.7% completion percentage this season, which is an improvement upon the 2021 season when he threw for 2,493 yards and 20 touchdowns on a 63.8% completion percentage.

"Cam means so much to our football team," Whittingham said during the 2022 season. "Off the field he's the leader of the leaders, the alpha dog of our team, really sets the standard. You couldn't ask for a better leader. He's one of the best leaders I've ever been around."

"We've got a leader in our quarterback, No. 7, Cam Rising does a great job, is very resilient, has been through so much in his career, and that guy finds a way to scratch and claw his way back every day, every week, every game," offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said about Rising ahead of the Rose Bowl.

Though Rising has NFL aspirations, the draw to return to Utah and compete for another conference title was too much to pass up. And the potential to earn more money as part of name, image, and likeness as the program's most high-profile athlete likely factored into the equation.

On Monday, starting tight end Brant Kuithe, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury during the Arizona State game, announced his return to Utah for one final season. Kuithe was expected to pursue his NFL dream, but the injury altered his plans. Joining him is fellow tight end Thomas Yassmin, who announced Sunday his return to the school.

Wide receiver Devaughn Vele also announced his decision to return to Utah, just moments before Rising's announcement.

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Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com and beat writer of University of Utah athletics β€” primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.

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