Texas's win at West Virginia vaulted them back into the top 25, kept them perfect in Big 12 play, and sets up a colossal matchup with Oklahoma State this Saturday for the right to be Baylor's biggest challenger for the league title.
But it still came at tremendous cost, as the Longhorns announced Sunday that both defensive tackle Chris Whaley and running back Johnathan Gray would miss the remainder of the season with injuries suffered in Morgantown. Whaley suffered an undisclosed knee injury in the first quarter, while Gray went down with a noncontact Achilles tendon injury after catching a pass in the third.
Both players have been major contributors for the 7-2 'Horns. Gray is the team's leading rusher, with 780 yards and four touchdowns on a 4.9 yards-per-carry average. He has also added 15 receptions in the passing game.
Whaley, the former high school running back, had one of the team's most consistent penetrators on the defensive line and had posted two sacks and five tackles-for-loss, both good for fourth on the team. Whaley had also scored a pair of defensive touchdowns, including one on the season-salvaging win over Oklahoma.
A senior, Whaley appears to have played his final game as a Longhorn. Gray is a sophomore and will return in 2014.
Whaley's snaps will likely go to junior Desmond Jackson, and Gray was already part of tailback platoon that included Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown. But as Texas's nonconference losses to BYU and Ole Miss showed, the 'Horns' margin for error against quality teams is already thin -- and the losses of two players as pivotal to their fortunes as Whaley and Gray will only make it that much thinner.