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Penn State Issues Update On Noah Cain Before Ohio State Game

Noah Cain celebrates a touchdown during Penn State vs. Michigan.

IOWA CITY, IOWA- OCTOBER 12: Running back Noah Cain #21 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates a touchdown with tight ends Nick Bowers and Pat Freiermuth #87 in the second half against the Iowa Hawkeyes, on October 12, 2019 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Penn State needs to have all hands on deck to beat Ohio State this weekend, and take control of the Big Ten East race. That would include running back Noah Cain, who hasn't played since the Oct. 26 win over Michigan State.

Cain has been at the center of a strange running back strategy that James Franklin and his staff have employed this season. Despite some big performances, including back-to-back 100 yard games against Purdue and Iowa, he couldn't get off the bench in the first half against Michigan the following week, and finished with just five carries for 19 yards.

Cain left the Michigan State game after just six carries and 21 yards, what what has been called a lower body injury. Journey Brown led the team in carries that week, and has been the bellcow in Cain's absence.

Now, with the Buckeyes looming, Franklin says that Noah Cain is trending upwards ahead of Saturday. From 247Sports:

Franklin had an opportunity to update his progress Wednesday night following the Nittany Lions' latest practice session. He was asked directly whether Cain was trending in a positive direction this week after the freshman appeared to be more active during an open period than previous November media availability.

"Yeah, he is," Franklin said. "I thought he looked pretty good today. Obviously we've still got a little bit more time before the game but, you're right, that's the most he's done probably in the last couple weeks."

[...]

"We're trending in that direction," Franklin said regarding Cain's availability.

Franklin says that Cain will be a game-time decision, and that he wants his running back at 100-percent.

Journey Brown is coming off of back-to-back 100-yard games, and is now the team leader with 521 rushing yards. Ohio State has a ferocious front seven, and one of the most balanced teams in the nation. Quarterback Sean Clifford will need to have one of his best games of the year, and ideally, Penn State will have its full complement of weapons around him in order to try and pull an 18-point upset in Columbus on Saturday.

[247Sports]