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Recap: Utah Utes Showcase Promise in 22 Forever Spring Game


The Utah Utes take the field for their 22 Forever Spring Game
© Bryson Blue - College Football Dawgs

Utah Utes fans were treated to a showcase on Saturday of promise from their old and newly acquired talent at the annual 22 Forever Game, named to remember former players Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan.


Utah Utes 22 Forever Spring Game Summary

On a wonderful day in Salt Lake City, Rice-Eccles Stadium buzzed with excitement in anticipation of the return of its beloved Utes, even though it was only a spring exhibition. However, it wasn’t just football coming back, as fan-favorite quarterback Cam Rising made his return to the field after tearing his ACL, MCL, MPFL and meniscus in the 2023 Rose Bowl.



Team Red jumped out to an early lead and controlled the game the entire way through. Team Red was led in the first half by Rising, who was wearing a non-contact yellow jersey vest. His first touchdown came on a beautiful 2-yard pass rolling right to Money Parks, and his second came on a deep bomb to Parks again to take a 14-0 lead. Team Red’s top receiving contributors were Parks and newcomer Dorian Singer, who looked impressive in his Utes debut. After their first two scores, Team Red put together a nice drive ending with a Jaylon Glover rush from the goal line to go up 21-0.



Utah native Isaac Wilson, brother of NFL quarterback Zach Wilson, responded with a deep touchdown pass to Luca Caldarella to cut the lead to 21-7. Wilson looked extremely impressive for Team White, with an amazing throw over the middle in traffic to Landen King to make it a one-possession game in the second quarter. To end the half, Red Team kicker Tanner Cragun knocked in the long field goal to grab a 24-7 lead.



The Turning Point

The point of the game where everything changed was at the start of the second half. Team Red never looked back after the start of the third quarter, holding Team White to a single touchdown the rest of the game. Rising’s day was done after the second-quarter whistle, and Brandon Rose took over the offense after switching from Team White to Team Red. Rose led a solid drive down the field, which led to a Charlie Vincent rushing touchdown, extending the lead to 31-14.


In the fourth quarter, Team White’s only second-half score came on a rushing touchdown from Mike Mitchell. After Wilson’s and Rose’s day were finished, QB Luke Bottari took over for both teams. Bottari struggled, going 4-for-10 with 26 yards and an interception. Besides the field goal, the defense of Team Red scored on a pick-six from Moroni Anae. The game ended 41-21, with an impressive showing by Team Red.




The Defense

The defense for both sides had some great moments as well. While there wasn’t too much pressure on Rising or any of the QBs (mostly because it’s a spring game), the defensive line stopped the run very well, as both sides opted for a pass-heavy game plan. For Team Red, Gavin Nawahine led the team with four tackles, with 1.5 tackles for loss. In addition to his interception and score, Anae recorded two stops as well. Nasir Stephens and Kana’i Lopes contributed three tackles each.


For Team White, newcomer and Michigan transfer Cameron Calhoun contributed 6 tackles and a pass breakup. Calhoun was a major add this offseason and looked quite impressive in his first outing with Utah. Xane Uipi had five stops of his own, as the corner duo for Team White stepped up despite the score.


Team Red MVPs

Offense: QB Cam Rising (15-for-19 passing, 208 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Defense: DE Gavin Nawahine (4 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss)


Team White MVPs

Offense: QB Isaac Wilson (8-for-12 passing, 165 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Defense: CB Cameron Calhoun (6 tackles, one pass breakup)


Key Takeaway

The main takeaway from this year's 22 Forever Spring Game is how good the Utah offense looks. The offensive line looks as good as an OL could in a spring game, and the receivers played very well. The Utes’ WR room could be one of the best in the Big 12 Conference next year, and with Rising’s return, it may be a scary sight. Brant Kuithe, Mycah Pittman and Micah Bernard all return from injury this game, and if the offense is healthy, this team will make some noise.


The new additions performed great as well, with USC transfer Dorian Singer posting 92 yards and the impressive play of Calhoun. While it is only a spring game, Utes fans should be excited going into their inaugural season in the Big 12.



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