The Governor's Cup, kept by the winning Texas NFL team in preseason, traveled to Arlington for Thursday's contest between the Texans and Cowboys. Houston won the previous preseason matchup in 2010, so the cup will remain with the Texans, who defeated the Cowboys 24-6 at AT&T Stadium in the preseason finale.
The Texans offense gained 123 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter. Cierre Wood's 41-yard burst was the longest of the preseason for Houston. He finished with a game-high 107 yards on 19 carries. Dennis Johnson added 79 yards and one touchdown.
"I think tonight showed how much our young guys worked in camp," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "We had guys miss time and we just kept on pushing as a team. And these young guys, boy did they play good tonight."
Houston scored on their first offensive possession when Johnson bulled in for a five-yard touchdown run. But after that, the undrafted rookie struggled. Johnson fumbled twice on the same drive for the Texans: a muffed catch on a punt return which he recovered, and a fumble on a carry, resulting in Houston's first turnover of the game. In the third quarter, Johnson muffed another punt which he recovered.
Case Keenum started at quarterback and set two franchise records in one play. Keenum's 27-yard touchdown pass to Lestar Jean in the second quarter solidified him as the franchise leader in preseason passing yards with 442. Keenum surpassed David Carr's previous record of 441 yards set in 2002.
The touchdown catch by Jean was his third of the preseason, the most in preseason franchise history. Jean finished the day with two receptions for 32 yards and the scoring grab.
Keenum played for the entire first half and finished the game 9-for-13 for 128 yards and a touchdown. Keenum's passer rating was 126.4.
"I feel really good," Keenum said. "Being able to run the ball opened up play action and a lot of that stuff. It started with the offensive line. It was a really good game."
Yates tossed his fourth touchdown of the preseason with a 21-yard pass to Andy Cruse at the start of the fourth quarter. Yates was eight-of-11 for 109 yards, the touchdown, and a quarterback rating of 134.3. But he was quick to credit the offensive line for his success.
"It all starts again with our offensive line and being able to run the ball," Yates said. "That opens up our offense and makes us so versatile. We can do pretty much anything offensively when we're running the ball like that. They are making it easy on us."
DeVier Posey made his comeback from Achilles surgery and had two catches for 18 yards. Tight end Ryan Griffin, a sixth-round draft pick, had five receptions for 87 yards. His total of 15 receptions in August are the most in preseason franchise history.
Because both quarterbacks shined this preseason, Kubiak said it's likely they'll both make the 53-man roster after cuts on Saturday.
"Those two guys played like that, I don't think we expose them to anybody else," Kubiak said
The Texans defense held the Cowboys to three points in the first half. The Cowboys punted on their first four possessions before kicker Dan Bailey connected on a 38-yard field goal with 5:04 remaining in the second quarter.
Quarterback Alex Tanney completed 17 of his 31 pass attempts for 177 yards, an interception and a passer rating of 58.1.
The Cowboys would not score again until Bailey drilled a 39-yard attempt with just 0:29 remaining in the game.
Despite the most of the starters sitting out, the reserves on defense ended the day with an interception and six sacks. Cornerback A.J. Bouye intercepted Tanney in the fourth quarter.
Bryan Braman had two sacks. Trevardo Williams and Keith Browner each contributed 1.5 sacks on Tanney. Delano Johnson and Chris Jones each added a sack on the Cowboys' final drive of the game.