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Utah QB Cam Rising, TE Brant Kuithe declared out for season after Utes’ win over USC

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Utah quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe will not play for the No. 14 Utes this season, coach Kyle Whittingham announced shortly after their victory at Southern California.

Whittingham said the Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) don’t know whether Rising or Kuithe will return in 2024. Neither veteran had played a snap this season after getting hurt last year, but Utah publicly held out hope both would play this fall.

“That hopefulness each week is no longer,” Whittingham said. “It’s a medical decision to just shut them down. Don’t know what the future holds exactly for each of them, but when they’re ready to talk about that, they’ll be the ones to do that.”

Utah also lost linebacker Lander Barton for the season with an injury during its 34-32 win at the Coliseum.

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Rising was the starting quarterback for both of Utah’s back-to-back Pac-12 championship teams in the previous two seasons. The Ventura County native has passed for 5,572 yards and 46 touchdowns with the Utes, but he hasn’t played this season after tearing ligaments in his knee during their Rose Bowl loss to Penn State.

Rising got hurt in each of Utah’s two Rose Bowl appearances over the previous two years. He has been traveling this season with the Utes, but the school hadn’t provided much clarity on the length of his recovery.

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Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson have played in place of Rising this season for the Utes, who are improbably in contention for another Pac-12 title despite their injuries to several major contributors.

Barnes had the best game of his career in the Utes’ victory over USC, passing for 235 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for an early score before making the biggest play of the night with a sensational 26-yard scramble in the final minute to get Utah into range for the winning field goal.

Kuithe has 148 catches for 1,882 yards and 16 touchdowns in four seasons at Utah, which has a long history of producing standout tight ends. Kuithe tore a knee ligament in late September 2022 in a game against Arizona State, and he hasn’t played since.

Utah already lost star Australian tight end Thomas Yassmin for the season three days ago to an undisclosed injury. Running back Micah Bernard, defensive end Logan Fano and receiver Mycah Pittman also have been ruled out for the season.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football