Posted November 11, 2013 on
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Johnathan Gray asked a fateful question before his team's last game.
''What does it feel like to tear an Achilles?'' Gray asked one of the trainers. ''Is it like somebody kicked you or is it like a knife?''
Gray got the answer to his question in a painful way when he caught a short pass from Case McCoy early in the third quarter of the Longhorns' win at West Virginia over the weekend.
''Sure enough, I looked behind me and nobody was behind me,'' Gray recalled. ''It felt like somebody kicked me. I knew right then I had tore it.''
Gray, the team's leading rusher, had suffered a torn Achilles tendon, an injury that will require season-ending surgery. He has rushed for 780 yards, the third-most in the Big 12, and four touchdowns this year.
Senior defensive tackle Chris Whaley also suffered a season-ending injury in Saturday's 47-40 win over the Mountaineers, hurting his knee in the first half. He scored two touchdowns in the previous three games, but the No. 23 Longhorns will line up without him the rest of the year.
''We're going to miss him a lot. He's our emotional leader,'' junior defensive back Quandre Diggs said. ''He was playing tremendous this year. It's a big loss for us, no doubt. Everybody looks up to Chris, not just because of the player he is, but because of the person he is.''
Quarterback David Ash and linebacker Jordan Hicks were arguably the Longhorns' best offensive and defensive players when they were injured in Texas' Big 12 opener against Kansas State, the first of six straight wins for the Longhorns. They haven't played since. So it seems like deja vu for the Longhorns with two more top players going down for the season in a single game.
''We've gone through this on both sides of the ball with David and Jordan Hicks,'' junior center Dominic Espinosa said. ''Those were two guys that were big leaders in the beginning of the season. and now something similar is happening with Chris Whaley and Johnathan Gray. So now we're ready to step up and fill their shoes in leadership roles.''
The Longhorns picked up the first overtime win in program history to stay perfect in conference play. They host No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) this Saturday and are three-point underdogs.
Despite losing two of its first three games, Texas (7-2, 6-0) still controls its destiny in the Big 12 title race.
''This team has been very resilient. After the two losses, and everything was so negative, they continued to compete,'' coach Mack Brown said. ''As disappointed as you are and as much leadership as you lose in those two players, the guys just said, `It is what it is'. They understand that's just part of the deal.''
Junior Malcolm Brown, like Gray, was the nation's top running back prospect coming out of high school and takes over as the Longhorns' featured back. Brown has rushed for 379 yards and seven touchdowns in his last four games and provides depth at a position where Texas now desperately needs it.
''About Whaley and Johnathan, both of those guys are what we're talking about when we're talking about leaders,'' McCoy said. ''There's no way you can say that we aren't going to miss those guys because we are. But I'd be a lot more worried if (Brown) wasn't running the way he is and (defensive tackle) Malcom (Brown) on the other side of the ball wasn't playing as well.''
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Nov 9, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray (32) runs with the ball in the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The win over West Virginia was huge for the Longhorns, but it didn’t come without a cost. On Sunday it was announced that starting tailback Johnathan...
The Texas Longhorns won in overtime at West Virginia Saturday night 47-40, but lost two starters for the season. Sophomore running back Johnathan Gray suffered a torn achilles tendon that will require surgery.
Gray had 159 rushes for 780 yds. and four touchdowns for the year. He had been on pace to become the first Longhorn running back to gain over 1000 yds. since Jamaal Charles...
The Texas Longhorns are starting to put together a who's who list of injured players.
And as much as the Longhorns (7-2, 6-0 in Big 12) miss what the injured players have given Texas on the field, the intangibles the injured players provide has also been tough to replace.
That's especially the case with the newest Longhorns lost for the season running back Johnathan Gray...
In a tough blow to Texas' Big 12 title hopes, the Longhorns lost senior DT Chris Whaley and leading rusher Johnathan Gray for the season with injuries.
I interviewed Jonathan Gray last year as he accepted the award for the Gatorade High School Player of the Year. He was a great kid and based on his high school career Texas fans had every reason to be excited. He exploded this year in his sophomore season with 790 yards and a 4.9 YPC average. His running helped Mack Brown and Texas salvage a season that looked like a potential disaster...
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You won't find too many Big 12 football fans that don't know the names of Quandre Diggs and Carrington Byndom, the two Texas cornerbacks. Byndom is a senior and Diggs is a junior, and both get mentioned a lot because Texas has long believed that pair to be talented enough to man up on opposing receivers.
Jonathan Holmes scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half and Texas erased a 17-point deficit to pick up a 82-77 win over South Alabama on Tuesday night.
Texas (2-0) scored the first basket but did not lead again until late in the second half. South Alabama (1-1) opened the game on 18-8 run and eventually took a 45-31 halftime lead, hitting 10 of 21 3-pointers in the first half...
There will be some adjustments taking place this week on the defensive line for the Texas Longhorns as former starter Malcolm Brown (the defensive tackle) jumps in at the nose position. Brown's move is necessary after Chris Whaley was lost for the season in last Saturday's 47-40 overtime win over West Virginia. It will be an adjustment although Brown has nine starts in his career.
Photo credit: Evan Habeeb/Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
I was ready.
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