‘Sometimes it’s just not your night’: Why did Utah QB Cam Rising struggle against Oregon?
Sporting a brace on his left knee, Cam Rising wasn’t himself against Oregon, completing 21 of 38 passes for 170 yards and tossing three interceptions
Sporting a brace on his left knee, Rising completed 21 of 38 passes for 170 yards and three interceptions. He ran seven times for 43 yards.
“It’s a team sport. To put it all on him is kind of unfair. I view it as I need to worry about my 20 square feet. He’s going to do the same. I trust in him that he’ll do his job and I’ll do my job.” — Utah receiver Devaughn Vele in defense of Cam Rising
“Sometimes it’s just not your night,” Rising said Monday night after practice. “You’ve got to live to fight another day. That’s the fact of the matter.”
Going into the game, Rising had thrown four interceptions all season.
Rising hasn’t looked like himself since he completed 30 of 44 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns in a dramatic 43-42 victory over No. 7 USC.
That was a historic performance as he became the first Utah QB to throw for more than 400 yards in 17 years.
Rising also ran 11 times for 60 yards and scored three more touchdowns. He also scored the game-winning two-point conversion with 48 seconds remaining as the Utes handed the Trojans their first, and only, loss of the season. In all, he accounted for five TDs against USC.
But he also suffered a leg injury.
After that win, Utah had a bye before playing at Washington State. In Pullman, Rising opted not to play due to the injury and backup Bryson Barnes led the Utes to victory.
Rising returned for wins over Arizona and Stanford but wasn’t as sharp in those games.
Then came the loss to Oregon.
While Rising has received considerable criticism for his performance at Autzen Stadium, wide receiver Devaughn Vele said the blame falls on the entire offense.
“There’s a lot of things that go on in a quarterback’s mind. I’m not one to speak for the quarterbacks. I play receiver. I give a lot of credit to him because there was a lot of pressure riding on him,” he said. “Everybody sees him as the lead, the foundation of our offense. As tough as that loss was, it’s not one of those things where I’m blaming him.
“Maybe us as receivers could have made more plays and made it easier for him,” he continued. “The running backs could have hit the holes harder or the O-line could have blocked better. It’s a team sport. To put it all on him is kind of unfair. I view it as I need to worry about my 20 square feet. He’s going to do the same. I trust in him that he’ll do his job and I’ll do my job.”
Why was the offense out of sync against the Ducks?
“It just goes to show how much of a team sport this is. You can’t put it on one person to make the plays. Everyone has to contribute and I felt like we fell short in that,” Vele said. “It goes for the receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks, O-line and running backs. We all have to work together to get the win that we wanted.
“I felt like we didn’t execute like we should have. We were given ample times to seal the deal and we fell short. In those big games and big stages, we have to make sure we come out guns a-blazing. Just execute better, in my opinion.”
Rising, who has a year of eligibility remaining, opted to participate in Senior Night on Nov. 12. He has said his plan is to leave the program after this season.
On Monday, Rising was asked about his decision to stay or go.
“It’s still up in the air,” he said. “But as of right now, it’s still as planned and go from there.”
With one game remaining in the regular season, Saturday (2 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Network) at Colorado, Vele said he and his teammates are rallying around their quarterback.
“We definitely try to build him up. You never want to see somebody go through something like that and then you’re not helping them out. You don’t know what they’re going through. A good picker-upper is going to help him in the long run,” he said. “If you keep to yourself, it almost seems like you’re viewing yourself as selfish.
“You just worry about yourself and say, ‘Oh, I did good on Saturday so I don’t have to worry about him.’ When you start thinking like that, that’s what tears teams apart. That’s one thing this team does well with is, always picking people up when we do have a tough game.
“Every game is going to be different. Somebody else is going to outshine the other people. It’s just one of those games that was a tough one,” Vele continued. “To view it as something like pointing fingers or saying ‘it’s his fault’ or keeping yourself introverted, not saying anything, that’s a selfish thing to do. I don’t feel that with this team. I feel like we’re a good brotherhood. We’ve got to stay positive through this next game coming up.”
Utes on the air
No. 10 Utah (8-3, 6-2)
at Colorado (1-7, 1-10)
Saturday, 2 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Network
Radio: ESPN 700