Hunter picked up 46 hard-earned yards on his first six carries, good for 7.7 yards per rush. Last year’s fourth-round pick also caught a 3-yard pass and also returned two kicks in the first half, averaging 28.5 yards per return.
Despite Hunter’s efforts, the 49ers fell short in his home state, losing 20-9 to the Houston Texans.
"It would have been even better to come out with a win, but it felt good to play in Texas though," Hunter said.
After his team dropped its first preseason contest of 2012, Jim Harbaugh said he didn’t have a great feel for how his team progressed from the game. However, there was no mistake about Hunter’s progress.
“Ran efficiently, had a nice kick-off return,” Harbaugh noted. “I thought it was real good night for Kendall.”
The native of Tyler, Texas, put on a show 220 miles from his hometown. Hunter’s family drove four hours south to see the second-year 49ers runner play in his home state for the first time of his career. Hunter didn’t disappoint.
“That’s a compliment to the offensive line,” Hunter said, who was also happy to have his best friend in attendance.
The young tailback’s development is a positive considering veteran free- agent addition
Overall, Harbaugh felt like the 49ers needed to “keep climbing” and not be discouraged by the result.
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub completed his first six passes on the night and finished the game with 128 passing yards and a 9-yard touchdown to wide receiver Lester Jean which closed out the first half.
Houston added to its lead at the start of the fourth quarter thanks to an 87-yard punt return by return specialist Trindon Holliday. San Francisco’s only second-half score was a 55-yard boot between the uprights by Pro Bowl kicker
Reserve players might have given up two touchdowns for the 49ers, but the first-team defense fared well against a talented Texans attack.
“Guys were competing against a good football team,” Harbaugh said. “There was good play.”
Harbaugh wasn’t discouraged to see his defense allow the opponent into San Francisco’s territory to start the game for a second consecutive week. If anything, he was encouraged that the Texans were held to a 48-yard field goal.
“They’re never in till they’re in,” Harbaugh said. “Our guys tightened up toward the red zone and held them to field goals.”
Schaub connected on three straight passes to start the initial drive and get Houston across the 50-yard line.
The 49ers had a drive of firsts on their opening series;
Moss finished the game with a team-high three receptions for24 yards. Smith completed 5-of-9 passes for 49 yards and was sacked twice on two series that yielded three points.
Smith’s best throw of the game was a third-down pass on the opening drive that saw him roll to his right, buy time, and hit
Following a Texans’ punt, Jacobs took a helmet to the knee on an 8-yard carry. The 260-pound back suffered a knee injury on the play and did not return to action.
Against the second-team defense midway in the second quarter, Houston’s starters picked up a 43-yard gain on a Schaub pass to Andre Johnson for his sixth straight completion to start the game. The Texans, however, walked away with no points when reserve kicker Randy Bullock pulled a 51-yard attempt wide right.
Kaepernick finished the game 4-of-8 for 19 yards and was later replaced by
With Schaub playing the entire first half, second-year quarterback T.J. Yates entered the game to start the second half. On Yates’ second drive, Houston got across midfield, but 49ers rookie safety
Johnson entered the game for San Francisco midway through the third quarter and hooked up on the team’s biggest passing play of the game, a 32-yard deep sideline pass to rookie wide receiver
“It was great job on Josh’s part throwing the bal,” Jenkins said. “My job was easy. He put the ball in a position to where I could have a realy easy catch. All props go to him.”
The catch supplied 32 of the 37 yards on the scoring drive. Akers connected on a 55-yard kick to make it a 13-9 game.
Houston added to the lead thanks to an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown by Holliday. It took the former college track star 10 seconds to go 87 yards, and
Only Jacobs’ injury stands as the biggest loss in the team’s second exhibition game, but knowing the team’s resolve, they’ll be back to work for the all-important third preseason game against the Denver Broncos.
"There's always next week," said linebacker