Penn State football: Noah Cain separates himself again in win over Iowa

Once again, Penn State football freshman Noah Cain separates himself from the bunch in the backfield against Iowa.

It was a long night in Iowa City for Penn State football. As they showed up to Kinnick Stadium for their second road matchup of the year, the Nittany Lions were undoubtedly gearing up for their toughest opponent to date in the Iowa Hawkeyes.

For their first road trip, Penn State was fortunate enough to take on Maryland, and they demolished the Terps with ease. This week though, Penn State knew that wouldn’t be the case. Despite being the No. 10 team in the nation, the Lions were facing their first ranked opponent of the year in No. 17 Iowa.

At the end of the night, Penn State did just enough to win, but it wasn’t all pretty. The defense had to carry the offense in the beginning, picking up where they left off last week in the second half against Purdue. As quarterback Sean Clifford was visibly nervous, the Lions had to figure out how to get him to settle down.

Penn State Nittany Lions
Iowa Hawkeyes

Obviously, the first move would be to establish a run game. Once again, with Penn State being non-committed to one specific back, each rusher on board had an opportunity to take on carries. And again, Penn State saw first-hand that no other running back on board can create plays as effectively as the freshman, Noah Cain does.

Cain leads the way

Last week, Penn State’s offense looked rough in the second half against the Boilermakers. For the final two quarters, Penn State only managed to put up seven points after crushing it in the first half. When the offensive unit stalled out, though, they only managed to score when Ricky Rahne decided to buckle down and let Cain take the reigns.

Against Iowa, something similar happened. Early on, Ricky Slade, Devyn Ford, and Journey Brown received carries, but they averaged for a combined 3.4 yards-per-carry off of 12 total handoffs. Meanwhile, Cain separated himself from the pack entirely by taking on 22 carries for 102 yards, and a score, while averaging a team-high of 4.6 yards-per-carry.

For the last couple of weeks, everybody has been begging for James Franklin to make the change and name Cain the lead back no matter what, but he continued to claim that nobody has separated themselves quite yet. After witnessing Cain’s importance against Iowa, it’s become pretty apparent that he’s the man for the job. We’ll see what happens soon enough.