MIAMI – Peyton Ramsey finally was glad to complete passes against an opponent.
Ramsey threw for three touchdown passes to lead Indiana to a 38-28 victory over Florida International in the teams’ season openers Saturday night.
The Hoosiers overcame a 7-0 first quarter deficit and scored three unanswered touchdowns.
Ramsey connected with Donavan Hale on scores from 18 and 2-yards and also threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Peyton Hendershot. Ramsey completed 20-of-27 for 156 yards.
“It feels good to have one under our belt,” Ramsey said. “We’ve got a little confidence now. We’ve played one. And now we’re ready to get rolling and get this thing going.”
Indiana broke a 7-7 tie and took the lead for good on Jonathan Crawford’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:01 remaining in the first quarter.
“I think last year we had two pick-sixes that were dropped,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “You see how that changed the whole game.
For Crawford, the return for a touchdown was the first of his career. Crawford, a senior defensive back from Largo, Florida and one of 24 Hoosier players from the state, also forced a fumble in the Panthers’ first drive of the game.
“All summer I had it in mind to get a pick-six,” Crawford said. “As soon as I caught it my goal was getting in the end zone.”
Michael Penix replaced Ramsey in the second half and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mike Majette. Penix led the Hoosiers on another scoring drive which ended on Logan Justus’ 36-yard field goal for a 38-21 lead with 9:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“It’s just great to get the first win, a team win for sure,” Allen said “I’m really proud of our offense. They were able to finish.”
Florida International’s Anthony Jones rushed for 88 yards on 15 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 36 and two yards.
“You got to start some place,” Florida International coach Butch Davis said. “To be honest to score 28 points and run the ball as well as we did that part is encouraging.”
The Hoosiers played without sophomore running back Morgan Ellison, who rushed for a team-high 704 yards last season. Ellison was suspended for the opener because of a violation of team rules.