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Texas vs. Kansas 2012: Longhorns fans find silver linings in ugly win

Many Texas fans likely didn't think they would have any reason to be nervous toward the end of the Longhorns' game against the Kansas Jayhawks Saturday, but they were wrong. Texas (6-2, 3-2 Big 12) escaped Lawrence, Kans., with a 21-17 win over the Jayhawks (1-7, 0-5), needing a touchdown with 49 seconds remaining to avoid a disastrous defeat.

Despite what looked like an ugly victory, some Longhorns fans are finding silver linings. Over at Burnt Orange Nation, SB Nation's Texas blog, writer The Audit Horn saw a few things in Saturday's game that provide glimmers of hope for fans in Austin. Running back Johnathan Gray, who finished the game with 111 yards on 18 carries, was one of those silver linings:

Johnathan Gray paid instant dividends on his first career start with a 31 yard carry to set Texas up in the red zone on its first drive (a set up which led to another Joe Bergeron TD steal). Gray took advantage of the start and the continued absence of Malcolm Brown to pace the Texas rushing attack, which finished with 35 carries for 211 yards (6.0 yards per rush). Don't look now, but Gray's 81 rushes for 424 yards are now second on the team and only 26 yards behind Joe Bergeron.

On the other side of the ball, defensive end Alex Okafor provided a nice effort for the Longhorns. With Jackson Jeffcoat out for the season on the opposite end of the line, The Audit Horn finds that Okafor has taken over as a leader:

Alex Okafor continues to step up as a leader of the Texas defense in Jackson Jeffcoat's absence. This week was 13 tackles, 11 solo (both led the team), 1 of the team's 8 tackles for loss, and 1 of the team's 2 forced fumbles.

Next up for the Longhorns is a date with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Texas and Texas Tech meet Saturday, Nov. 3 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.