There also were questions about Keenum’s height — the Texans list him at 6-foot-2 — and his ability to master a pro-style offense after starring in the Cougars’ spread attack. A poor performance at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine sealed his fate, and the quarterback went undrafted.
That led to the tryout with the Texans, who signed Keenum and kept him on the practice squad throughout last season. When Houston starter Matt Schaub struggled early this season, hometown fans began clamoring for the former college star to get a chance.
When Schaub was injured three weeks ago during a game against the St. Louis Rams, it was T.J. Yates — whose grandfather Gene won four state track championships at Anderson High School and still lives here — who came in to replace him. But when the starter again could not go the following week at Kansas City, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak turned to Keenum.
He completed 15 of 25 passes for 271 yards and one score in a 17-16 loss and earned another start this week, even though Schaub is healthy enough to play.
“I thought the young man handled himself extremely well,” Kubiak explained Wednesday. “I thought we did clean some things up as a football team and had ourselves in position to win a big game on the road, and we’ll give him a chance to grow from it.”
That’s all Keenum has ever asked.
He understands the position the Texans find themselves in this week. Indianapolis is coming off a 39-33 victory against the Denver Broncos two weeks ago, and the Colts have a three-game lead over Houston in the AFC South standings.
A loss Sunday night would leave the Texans in a four-game hole with eight games remaining — including a rematch at Indianapolis and a date with the 7-1 Broncos. That’s a less than ideal scenario for the team’s chances of winning a third straight division crown.