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Texas notebook: Dorian Leonard and Gary Johnson exit Kansas win with injuries

Posted November 11th, 2017

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Texas picked up the win on Saturday. The Longhorns, however, also were dealt two losses at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

Neither senior wide receiver Dorian Leonard nor junior linebacker Gary Johnson returned after getting injured in the third quarter of the 42-27 win over the Jayhawks. Afterward, UT coach Tom Herman said Johnson suffered a neck sprain and Leonard had a Jones fracture in his foot.

Herman did not provide a timeline for Johnson or Leonard. Linebacker Malik Jefferson (toe sprain) and running back Toneil Carter (knee bursitis) also were injured but returned to the game.

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Johnson recorded his third straight start on Saturday, and he finished with four tackles. Leonard’s only catch was a six-yard reception, and he limped to the sideline afterwards. Leonard was making his fourth start of the season, and his 18 catches rank fifth among the Longhorns.

Abbreviated appearance: After missing the past two games in concussion protocol, quarterback Sam Ehlinger returned to the huddle albeit for a short stay.

Ehlinger was inserted into the game on Texas’ fourth drive near the end of the first quarter. He threw two passes, completing both, including an 8-yard touchdown to tight end Cade Brewer.

He also mopped things up at the very end of the game.

Herman said the coaches had decided beforehand that Ehlinger would play the fourth series. Sure enough, after Jason Hall returned an interception to the Kansas 9, Ehlinger trotted onto the field with the offense.

“We wanted to see how he would respond and thought he did well,” Herman said.

Ehlinger’s appearance closed out a youth movement on UT’s offense toward the end of the first quarter. On the preceding possession, Texas drove 60 yards on five plays with only running backs Daniel Young (four rushes for 37 yards) and Carter (one for 23 yards) touching the football. Carter’s touchdown run gave Texas a 21-7 lead with 3:42 left in the opening quarter.

Brewer, Carter, Ehlinger and Young all are members of Texas’ 2017 signing class. Freshman Derek Kerstetter made his seventh consecutive start at right tackle.

“They’ve done a great job, especially being freshmen, being a few months out of high school,” senior receiver Lorenzo Joe said. “I’m proud of those guys, they’ve got bright futures ahead of them.”

Texas kicker Mitchell Becker attempts a field goal in the first half against TCU at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Nov. 25, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Kicking woes continue: Texas continued to struggle in the kicking game. Senior Mitchell Becker replaced Joshua Rowland, but he missed a 44-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter. Becker, making his first appearance of the season, sailed his attempt to the left of the upright.

Rowland handled kickoffs. The junior has missed seven of his 14 field goals.

“The plan moving forward is what it is,” Herman said when asked about Becker. “We go back to the drawing board. We coach him. We try to correct mistakes the best we can, and we go compete in the week of practice, and if the situation dictates itself, we’ll jog him out again and see if we haven’t corrected ourselves.”

Becker was 6 for 6 on extra-point attempts, but never tried another field goal. After the miss, Texas went for it on five fourth downs inside the Kansas 40. The Longhorns converted three of them.

The post Texas notebook: Dorian Leonard and Gary Johnson exit Kansas win with injuries appeared first on Hook ‘Em.

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