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

Big 12 football power rankings: Can Texas Longhorns overcome key injuries?

The Texas Longhorns have been a miracle story in the Big 12. At one point, head coach Mack Brown’s job was on life support when the team started 1-2 with blowout losses to BYU and Ole Miss. Now, they’ve rattled off six straight victories and put themselves in the passenger’s seat of winning the Big 12 conference.

However, two key injuries were sustained in their thrilling 47-40 overtime victory over West Virginia on Saturday. Their lead running back, Johnathan Gray, and senior defensive tackle, Chris Whaley, were both lost for the rest of the season.

Despite just being a sophomore, Gray will be a huge loss for the team. That eliminates the crutch quarterback Case McCoy had on offense; Gray led the team with 159 carries for 780 yards and four touchdowns.

The Longhorns were spoiled with a rotation of two solid running backs, but now Malcolm Brown has to step up as the leader and he will rotate with Bergeron. It helps that both Brown and Bergeron have played in all nine games this season.

On paper, Whaley may not be the biggest loss on defense, but it always hurts to lose experience. He had 21 total tackles on the season, as well as one interception and a fumble recovery both for a touchdown. He also had five tackles for loss and two sacks.

Both injuries are brutal for the Longhorns on both sides of the ball, but they can recover from it. That’s why they sit in the third place behind Baylor and Oklahoma State.

  1. Baylor Bears (8-0, 5-0) – vs Texas Tech
  2. Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-1, 5-1) – at Texas
  3. Texas Longhorns (7-2, 6-0) – vs Oklahoma State
  4. Oklahoma Sooners (7-2, 4-2) – vs Iowa State
  5. Kansas State Wildcats (5-4, 3-3) – vs TCU
  6. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-3, 4-3) – vs Baylor
  7. West Virginia Mountaineers (4-6, 2-5) – at Kansas
  8. TCU Horned Frogs (4-6, 2-5) – at Kansas State
  9. Kansas Jayhawks (2-7, 0-6) – vs West Virginia
  10. Iowa State Cyclones (1-8, 0-6) – at Oklahoma

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Tags: Big 12 News Chris Whaley Football Iowa State Cyclones Johnathan Gray Texas Longhorns

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