CARSON, California — Things looked bleak for Utah in the second half.

The Utes trailed 24-10 and the offense looked lifeless and lost. 

Then Cam Rising entered the game. His appearance with 5:24 left in the third quarter didn’t change the complexion of the game immediately, but by the fourth quarter, Rising helped erase the two-touchdown deficit and set up a crazy fourth quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park. 

In the end, San Diego State beat the Utes in triple overtime 33-31. 

“I thought Cam Rising was a big bright spot. He was poised. He got put in a tough spot. It’s not an easy spot he got put in,” said coach Kyle Whittingham. “And I thought he responded really well. In fact, I thought the whole offense responded when he got into the game. He seemed to be a little bit of a spark that he provided, which is what enabled us to make the comeback.”

Coaches told Rising he would be replacing Brewer just before he took the field. Rising had time for three warmup throws on the sidelines — then he entered the game. 

“I just wanted to put ourselves in a position to win the game,” Rising said. “It was pretty  much go get warmed up as fast as I can.” 

San Diego State beats Utah 33-31 in 3OT
3 takeaways from Utah’s 33-31 triple-overtime loss to San Diego State

Rising completed 19 of 32 passes for 153 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed five times for 46 yards. 

Starter Charlie Brewer completed 14 of 26 passes for 103 yards and an interception earlier in the third quarter that set up an Aztec touchdown.

How did Rising make such a huge difference?

“My teammates,” said the sophomore QB. “Every time I step on that field, I play for them. I want to give my all, everything that I have. It’s like that any time we’re on the field together. It made it easy having all those guys out there with me.”

Rising’s teammates certainly responded to Rising’s leadership and play.

“It was just the spark we needed, I guess. He’s a captain. He’s a leader. He did a great job when he came in,” said linebacker Devin Lloyd. “I saw his maturity as far as being in this offense for three years now and just being a leader. He’s always been a gamer. He’s been a baller since he came here. He just put that on display right now.”

So now do the Utes have a quarterback controversy on their hands?

Whittingham said that a decision on who the starter will be next week when Utah hosts Washington State in the Utes’ Pac-12 opener at home will be made Monday after evaluating the film.