Penn State’s running back depth has taken another hit.
James Franklin announced Tuesday that Noah Cain will miss the rest of the season after suffering an injury against Indiana. Franklin didn’t offer specifics, but Cain was injured early in Saturday’s loss to the Hoosiers and was later seen on the sideline wearing a boot on his left leg and using crutches.
Cain, a sophomore, moved up to No. 1 on the team’s depth chart when Journey Brown was ruled out after a “medical condition” was discovered during the offseason. Penn State said last week that Brown was “being treated” for the condition and could “potentially miss the 2020 football season.”
Brown emerged as one of the best running backs in the Big Ten in 2019. He rushed for 890 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a 202-yard performance in the Cotton Bowl against Memphis. Cain also saw significant action for the Nittany Lions, rushing for 443 yards and eight scores. Cain had two 100-yard efforts in Big Ten play and had 92 yards and two touchdowns of his own in the bowl win over Memphis.
Now neither will be available as PSU prepares to host No. 3 Ohio State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday night.
Devyn Ford is next man up for PSU
In their absence, Devyn Ford moves into a starting role. Ford, another sophomore, had 294 yards and three touchdowns last fall and saw significant action after Cain was injured vs. IU. Ford had 20 carries for 69 yards and the now-infamous accidental touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Penn State took a 21-20 lead late in the fourth quarter and forced Indiana’s offense to turn it over on downs. PSU’s offense returned to the field at the 1:45 mark with IU holding just one timeout. On the first play of that drive, Ford took a handoff and Indiana let him score in order to get the ball back down 28-20. From there, IU tied the score and won 36-35 on a dramatic and controversial two-point conversion play in overtime.
Ford will be forced to quickly turn the page and get ready for the Buckeyes. Penn State will also have to press two freshmen — Keyvone Lee and Caziah Holmes — into more prominent roles on the offense. Both four-star recruits in the 2020 class, Lee and Holmes both played in the Indiana game. Lee rushed for 35 yards on six carries and had two catches for six yards. Holmes rushed for 16 yards on five attempts.
Penn State dropped from No. 8 to No. 18 in the AP poll after losing to Indiana.
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