Penn State down two running backs as they take on Ohio State

Nittany Nation

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — As Penn State (0-1) gears up for its rivalry game against No. 3 Ohio State (1-0), some changes have come their way: the team is now down two running backs and Beaver Stadium will not have its usual roaring crowd.

At the beginning of a media call, head coach James Franklin announced that Noah Cain is out for the remainder of the 2020 season due to his injury in last week’s game against Indiana. Cain was spotted using crutches on the sidelines after he exited the field.

Now the Nittany Lions are without Cain and Journey Brown, who is out for an undisclosed medical condition. They will look to sophomore Devyn Ford to carry the responsibility.

Ford has 69 rushing yards against Indiana and one rushing touchdown. Franklin said Ford’s leadership is going to be key with the younger players.

“There’s a big difference between being a guy rotating in and being ‘the guy’,” Franklin said. “No doubt he has the talent to do that.”

The adjustment Penn State is looking to make this week is playing well for all four quarters of the game. Head coach James Franklin said that while Penn State started on the opening drive and did some good things, they went into a lull with some turnovers and penalties.

“We really made mistakes that we had not made before and we gotta get those things cleaned up,” Franklin said.

Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) goes in for a touchdown as he is tackled by Penn State’s Lamont Wade (38) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Looking at the totality of the game, Franklin said last week’s performance was “as good as they have defended Indiana over the last couple years” in terms of rushing yards, pass defense and pressuring the quarterback.

“Obviously the end result is, defensively you gotta hold them to one less point,” Franklin said. “The totality of our defense, we did some good things…thought our defensive ends did a really good job getting pressure on the quarterback and getting sacks.”

Reverting back to the offense, Franklin said that aspect of the game was not as consistent. Penn State had 10 penalties last week for 100 yards; Franklin noted that over the past six years, PSU averaged 4.4 or 4.5 penalties per game.

Turnovers were another aspect of the game that the Nittany Lions struggled with, with three in last week’s matchup and an average of 1.4 over six seasons, according to Franklin.

“Doing that on the road is gonna be challenging,” he added.

Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth (87) and Zack Kuntz (82) celebrate a touchdown Freiermuth during the first half of an NCCAA college football game against Indiana, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

WHERE THE TEAMS STACK UP

RUSHING

Penn State: Devyn Ford – 20 for 69 yards, 1 TD

Ohio State: Trey Sermon – 11 for 55 yards, 0 TD

PASSING

Penn State: Sean Clifford – 24 for 35, 238 yards. 3 TD/ 2 INT

Ohio State: Justin Fields – 20 for 21, 276 yards. 2 TD/0 INT

RECEIVING

Penn State: Pat Freiermuth – 7 for 60 yards, 1 TD

Ohio State: Garrett Wilson – 7 for 129 yards, 1 TD

DEFENSE

Penn State: Shaka Toney – 7 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2.0 SK

Ohio State: Pete Werner – 7 tackles, 1.0 TFL

Penn State is keeping their eyes out for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who threw 20/21 against Nebraska for 276 yards and two touchdowns.

Fields also ran for 54 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Wide receiver Chris Olave had six receptions for 104 yards with an average of 17.3 yards per reception before exiting the game due to a head injury. His status is unclear at this time, and he was replaced by freshman Julian Fleming.

Fleming was the No. 1 ranked wide receiver for the class of 2020, according to ESPN. He had a 13-yard reception against Nebraska.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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