Facing a second-and-goal from the New Orleans Saints 1 on Sunday afternoon, former LSU and Houston Texans running back Alfred Blue thought back to the only other time he had played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It came on Jan. 9, 2012: LSU vs. Alabama for the BCS National Championship. Truth be told, he’d like to forget that night but can’t.
“We lost 21-0,’’ said Blue, a native of Boutte and a product of Hahnville High School. “Our offense didn’t get across the 50. That was on my shoulders, and I had to come in here and relive that moment today.’’
After being denied on first down from the 1, Blue got a second chance to redeem himself. This time he would not be denied, lowering his 6-foot-2, 223-pound frame and twisting into the end zone to give the Texans a 7-3 lead with 6:36 left in the first quarter.
The Texans went on to win 27-13 in the third exhibition game for both teams.
Blue, a sixth-round draft pick by Houston in 2014, finished with four carries for 12 yards and one reception for 1 yard, much to the delight of 15 family members and friends from the River Parishes.
“When you get down there, you just got to have it,’’ he said. “When you’re on the goal line, you got to do whatever it takes to get in the end zone. You got to go over the top; you got to go through somebody. However you do it, you got to score. Your teammates and coaches are counting on you.’’
Blue remains the favorite to be the Texans’ early down and goal-line back in the absence of injured starter Arian Foster, who remains sidelined after undergoing hernia surgery Aug. 7.
Foster reportedly could be active as early as Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and forgo being placed on the league’s injured reserve/designated for return list.
Meantime, Blue hopes to make the most of his opportunity. Blue got first crack with the No. 1 offense and starting quarterback Brian Hoyer on Sunday. Running backs Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk also worked with Hoyer under center.
Former LSU running back Kenny Hilliard, who’s trying to make the Texans as a seventh-round draft pick, led the Texans with 25 yards rushing on 10 carries.
“You dream about this moment,’’ said Blue, who accounted for 641 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns in 2014. “I go into it with the mindset of just own it. Act like it was meant for you to be here in this position. That’s the way I would go into it whether Arian was here or not.’’