The Texans finally got a chance to play in Texas on Friday night, August 20, 1960.
But the game did not go down in Dallas.
Instead, the first-year Texans faced the New York Titans in Abilene, playing at the Public Schools Stadium (below) before a crowd of 8,000. Before the game it was predicted that 12,000 fans would show up.
Unfazed by the small turnout, the Texans continued their perfect pre-season no matter what state they played in, grabbing a 38-14 victory and moving their record to 4-0.
The star of this game was QB Cotton Davidson. In the first three pre-season games, Davidson had been a scattershot in the pocket. The veteran passer completed half of his 68 passes going into game No. 4, but he had missed several wide open receivers, especially down the field.
“I think we’ve got that corrected,” Texans head coach Hank Stram said before the game. “Cotton was making up his mind who he was going to throw to before he looked at what was going on. He would look one way, fake and throw too quickly in another direction. We saw it in the game films. I think we’ve got him aware of it now.”
Davidson was part of three touchdowns in the game, running for two and throwing for another one. That scoring toss was a 42-yard strike to RB Johnny Robinson in the third quarter that gave the Texans a 17-7 lead. In the game, Davidson hit 14 of 23 passes for 205 yards. Overall, the Texans had 478 yards on offense.
The Texans scored the first time they got the ball, going 81 yards on the drive with the big play being a 40-yard run by RB Jim Swink. The TD came on an eight-yard run by RB Jack Spikes.
After the Davidson to Robinson pass went for a touchdown, Davidson plunged for a one-yard score and then ran 31 yards for another touchdown. The final TD for Dallas came when Swink caught a three-yard pass from QB Houston Patton in the last minutes of the game.
Davidson hit 14 of 23 for 205 yards. Robinson caught four passes for 100 yards and Spikes was the leading rusher with 59 yards on eight carries. He also kicked five PATs and an 11-yard FG.
The Titans were impressed with what they saw from the Texans.
“They’re the best I’ve seen and I’m not at all surprised,” said QB Dick Jamieson, who began the pre-season with the Texans and was then traded to New York. “I thought Los Angeles was good. Out on the West Coast they’re just waiting to pick up their championship checks. But we moved against Los Angeles. Nothing worked against Dallas.”
Said Titans rookie LB Larry Grantham: “The Texans made believers out of me. We didn’t score as much against Los Angeles (one TD) but we moved the ball a lot better. Dallas is really solid, especially the defensive line.”
After the game, the traveling Texans did not get a chance to return to Dallas. After spending two weeks working in Boston, the team flew from Abilene to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they would spend the next week training.