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Texans Win Preseason Opener at Minnesota 27-13


The Texans opened their 2013 preseason witha  27-13 win at Minnesota. Andre Johnson, J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Arian Foster, Johnathan Joseph, Antonio Smith, Wade Smith, Owen Daniels, and Whitney Mercilus were among the starters who did not play.

Quarterback Matt Schaub went 5-for-5 on his lone series that included Hopkins' first career NFL catch.The Vikings led in first half despite two turnovers. Yates played up until the half and connected with first-round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins for his first career touchdown, a 34-yarder. Case Keenum also had an impressive outing in the second half, throwing for 125 yards and a touchdown. On defense,Terrell McClain had 2.5 sacks while Shiloh Keo and Eddie Pleasant had an interception each. Randy Bullock was good for a pair of field goals, missing only one from 54 yards.

The Texans defense got off to a tremendous start with safety Shiloh Keo picking off Christian Ponder on the second play of the game. Ponder's short pass was intended for wide receiver Jerome Simpson. Matt Schaub was perfect on his drive which included a pair of passes to Lestar Jean. Randy Bullock put the first points up with a 48-yard field goal with 10:56 left in the first quarter.

Matt Cassel took over at quarterback for the Vikings second drive of the game and added two scores. Cassel connected with wide receiver Stephen Burton on a 56-yard catch, moving the Vikings deep into Texans territory.  The drive ended with a 22-yard field goal by the second-year kicker Blair Walsh. Early in the second quarter, Cassel continued to drive down the field and set up fullback Zach Line for a short pass to the right which resulted in a 61-yard touchdown, giving the Vikings their first lead of the game 10-3 with 12:26 remaining in the second quarter.

The Texans very next possession showcased T.J. Yates connecting with DeAndre Hopkins and Keshawn Martin, who bookended a one-yard run by Yates to give the Texans a first down.  The drive ended in a leaping catch by Hopkins who scored on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 6:24 remaining in the half. The Texans tied the score with a Randy Bullock extra point, 10-10. Before the end of the half, penalties on the Texans, including a roughing the passer penalty on Terrell McClain, helped move the Vikings into field goal range once again. Walsh connected on his second field goal of the game, a 33-yard attempt that gave the Vikings a 13-10 with 1:22 left in the half. The Texans had a chance to tie with a 54-yard field goal but Bullock's attempt came up short as time expired.

The Texans came out in the second half, putting up 17 unanswered points against the Vikings. Quarterbacks Case Keenum and McLeod Bethel-Thompson took over in the third quarter but neither was able add a touchdown. Randy Bullock's 21-yard field goal was the lone score, tying the game 13-13.

In the fourth quarter, Keenum added two touchdowns, a two-yard catch by Lestar Jean and a five-yard run by Ray Graham.  The Texans pulled away 27-13. Terrell McClain added a sack for a 6-yard loss. The former Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee took over at the two-minute warning but the score remained 27-13 as the Texans wrapped up their preseason debut with a 27-13 win on the road.

"I think the biggest thing to work on the first time out is to protect the ball all the night," head coach Gary Kubiak said after the game. "We didn't turn the ball over. We got some turnovers, so that's pretty encouraging. I thought we started off a little rusty but we got better as the game went. I think tonight shows what kind of camp we had. A lot of players getting a lot of time in training camp and our young players really showed up tonight with some good stuff."

The Texans (1-0) will next face the Miami Dolphins (1-1) at Reliant Stadium on August 17at 7 p.m. CT.

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