Hoosier cousins Crawford, Hale enjoy big night in Florida homecoming

MIAMI — Jonathan Crawford had at least a dozen friends and family members on hand at Riccardo Silva Stadium for Saturday’s season opener against Florida International.

So he and cousin Donavan Hale made sure the family’s roughly four-hour trip from Largo, Fla. was well worth it.

Crawford, a senior safety, and Hale, a redshirt junior receiver, accounted for 21 first-half points during IU’s 38-28 victory over the Panthers.

It was the kind of start the Hoosiers expected from Crawford, a four-year starter inside IU’s defense. It was also the kind of start that Indiana hoped it might get from Hale after his injury-plagued 2017 campaign.

Crawford accounted for two takeaways during the first quarter, marking his fifth career multi-takeaway game. He forced a fumble and posted his first career pick-six two drives later.

Hale, meanwhile, scored touchdowns on each of his first two catches of the night, the first two-score game of his career. He posted an 18-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter before hauling in a two-yard scoring grab to give IU a 28-14 lead entering halftime.

“They have a ton of family in the stands,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “For (Crawford) to get the pick-six and Donavan to get a couple touchdowns and some big plays, that’s how you script it.”

It was a particularly meaningful night for Hale, who appeared in only three games last fall before missing the remainder of the season due to an undisclosed injury.

The Hoosiers were careful with Hale during fall camp, giving him scheduled days off as he eased back onto the field. Scoring a touchdown on his first catch of the night went a long way toward building confidence for Hale, a player Allen has challenged to become a consistent factor for IU’s offense.

“It’s been a minute,” Hale said. “I ain’t played since the third week, fourth week last year. Getting me going early, that just built my confidence and kept me going the whole game.”

Hale finished with four catches for 60 yards and two scores. Crawford posted three tackles, in addition to his two takeaways.

3 comments

  1. Crawford and Hale played well in this game and should be leaders through out the season. If they keep producing like they did this game it will help IU have a winning season this year. Crawford has been avery good player for IU and I hope Hale has an injury free season for a change so he can show the talent he has.

  2. The second TD reception Hale made in the end zone was a spectacular catch. The throw was behind him. He turned his upper body around, snagged the ball with his hands and held on in spite of the defender trying to knock it loose. It was simply an outstanding reception and showcased his athletic ability. I rewound the DVR three times to watch that catch, and I still don’t know how he made it. Good for him to be able to do it in front of family.

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