Utah saw its starting quarterback return to the lineup Saturday night against Arizona after a one-game absence, but that didn’t stop Nate Johnson from stealing the show in the first half.

Cameron Rising was understandably rusty. In missing the Utes’ game last Thursday against Washington State, Rising had to wait three weeks to return to the football field after helping the Utes to a win over USC on Oct. 15. He hit just 10 of his 21 pass attempts in the first half for 90 yards.

To help ease him back into things and presumably keep the quarterback run element part of the offense, Utah debuted freshman quarterback Nate Johnson in front of the home fans.

And Johnson wasted no time finding the endzone. He scored touchdowns on both of his first two touches in his first career collegiate game.

The first score, a second-and-goal from 8 yards away, saw him beat an Arizona defender to the edge and just outrun everyone to the corner for six points.

The freshman did his little dancey dance after.

Then in the second quarter, Utah dialed up a 9-yard run to Johnson to turn a muffed punt into a one-play touchdown drive.

The Clovis, California product was a 4-star prospect out of the 2022 recruiting class. He’s the second-highest-rated quarterback prospect to sign with the program in the 247 era. In his scouting report, 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman wrote, “Speed, speed, and more speed.”

That was certainly on full display in the first half against Arizona. Perhaps the Utes have a new red zone package to throw at teams down the stretch.