Noah Cain, Penn State’s starting tailback, will miss the remainder of this 2020 football season after suffering an injury in Saturday’s season opener against Indiana, head coach James Franklin confirmed.
Franklin did not give details, but Cain was seen on the sideline in Bloomington, Ind., using crutches and wearing a supportive boot that extended from his left foot to lower leg.
“Love Noah, so much respect for Noah,” Franklin said. “He really had an unbelievable offseason and worked really hard for this opportunity.”
Cain became the second Nittany Lion running back to be ruled out indefinitely in October. Last week, projected starter Journey Brown was ruled out for an indefinite period of time, which could be for the whole season after an undisclosed medical issue was discovered in the preseason.
While Brown led Penn State in rushing last season, totaling 890 yards and 12 touchdowns on 6.9 yards per carry, Cain set a school freshman record with eight rushing touchdowns and 443 rushing yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
In Saturday’s loss to the Hoosiers, Cain carried the ball three times, gaining 13 yards, which came on Penn State’s first four plays of an opening touchdown drive before his injury.
Once Cain went down, fellow sophomore Devyn Ford filled the primary running back role, rushing for 69 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, adding three receptions for 11 yards.
A pair of Penn State freshman running backs, Caziah Holmes and Keyvone Lee, made their collegiate debuts against Indiana on Saturday.
Lee, who is 6-foot and 230 pounds, showed some power, gaining 35 yards on six carries, adding two receptions for six yards. Holmes was less productive with his opportunities, totaling 15 yards on six carries.
Penn state quarterback Sean Clifford led all players with 119 yards on 17 attempts, including a 35-yard score. With Brown and Cain out, the Nittany Lions still have former four-star prospects in Holmes and Lee, but no starting experience in the tailbacks room.
The wounded Nittany Lions will host the No. 3 Buckeyes in Happy Valley for their next game on Oct. 31.
For four free issues of the print edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, no card required, sign up at the link here: http://www.buckeyesports.com/subscribe-4issue-trial/