No. 12 Utah, still without Cam Rising, scores two TDs in final 2 minutes to win 20-13 at Baylor

(AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

Utah has been using two quarterbacks while hopefully waiting each week for Cam Rising to get back from his injury in the Rose Bowl. One of them took over late Saturday to get the 12th-ranked Utes another victory.

“These two guys have held down the fort," coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Nothing spectacular, but got the Ws both weeks against two good Power Five teams.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Nate Johnson, given the chance in the fourth quarter to take all the snaps, capped an 15-play, 88-yard drive with a 7-yard keeper for a touchdown with 1:59 left, then the Utes took their only lead on Jaylon Glover's 11-yard TD run with 17 seconds remaining to escape Baylor with a 20-13 win in a matchup of future Big 12 foes both missing their starting quarterbacks.

The Utes (2-0) started their winning drive at the Baylor 29 after Cole Bishop’s interception on a pass Sawyer Robertson threw under pressure.

They had tied the game at 13 on Johnson's TD run, ending a drive when he had 20 yards rushing and completed 4 of 5 passes for 57 yards.

Johnson, who had several snaps along with Bryson Barnes before that, said he does his best to stay ready, “just step in, trust in the game plan, trust the calls, trust in our offense and trust in God. And he blessed us to come out with a win.”

The game was scheduled eight years ago, and the first meeting of the teams wound up being a Big 12 preview. Utah, which has won the last two Pac-12 championship games and is hoping for even more in coach Whittingham’s 19th season, is one of four teams from the picked-apart Pac-12 going to the Big 12 next year.

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Baylor (0-2) had one more chance to tie the game, with one second left after Robertson's 47-yard pass to Hal Presley to the Utah 22. But the final pass into the end zone was incomplete.

Rising is still recovering from a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl eight months ago. The Utes starter each of the past two seasons was able to do everything in practice this week without any limits, but they stuck with Barnes and Johnson like in a season-opening 24-11 win over Florida. Barnes started again and was 6 of 19 passing for 71 yards.

“Cam is doing really well. It's just a matter of having complete confidence in the knee, and the medical staff saying we’re going to turn him loose,” Whittingham said, adding that could be next week but cautioning that he is still day to day.

Baylor, the Big 12 champion only two seasons ago, has lost six games in a row dating to last season. When coach Dave Aranda was asked if the Bears could recover from the skid, he said he believed so.

“That’s kind of the path that’s ahead of us,” Aranda said. “We always kind of talk about you have to go down before you go up. You know, it’s easier to talk about than to go through it. But that’s where we’re at.”

Mississippi State transfer Robertson, who completed 12 of 28 passes for 218 yards and had two interceptions, had a 4-yard keeper with 3:23 left in the first half for Baylor's only touchdown. Aranda said he played through a rolled ankle in the second half.

Bears starter Blake Shapen is out at least another two weeks with an MCL strain he suffered in the second half of their 42-31 loss to Texas State last week when they favored by nearly four touchdowns.


Utah: The Utes certainly miss Rising, who was on the sideline in shorts with a protective sleeve on his left knee. They couldn’t get anything going consistently on offense until Johnson got the full series that resulted in their first touchdown. Barnes threw a 70-yard pass on Utah’s first offensive snap against Florida, but the first play at Baylor was a delay of game penalty.

Baylor: Some missed chances in the first half came back to haunt the Bears. When Barnes was intercepted by Kyler Jordan late in the first quarter, Baylor was at the Utah 32. They quickly had a 14-yard pass, but an offensive facemask call and two false starts forced them to settle for Isaiah Hankins’ 34-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead. Baylor was at the Utah 32 again after Ketron Jackson leaped between two defenders for a 39-yard catch in the final minute of the first half, and on fourth-and-5 Hankins missed a 44-yard kick.


Utah should be ranked in about the same spot in the new AP Top 25 Sunday after pulling out the victory. But the Utes aren't likely to move up.


Utah is home next Saturday to play FCS team Weber State.

Baylor plays the third of four consecutive home games to start the season when it hosts FCS team Long Island on Saturday.

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