Noah Cain Puts On A Clinic At Blue-White Game
Freshman running back Noah Cain stole the show at the 2019 Blue-White spring football game after joining the team as an early enrollee.
Cain played for both squads on Saturday, and he finished with a total of 45 rushing yards on 12 carries. The freshman also scored two touchdowns — one in the first quarter for the White team and again in the fourth quarter for the Blue squad — while showcasing his unique skillset.
“I thought Noah Cain did some nice things today,” head coach James Franklin said postgame. “He was decisive. He stuck his foot in the ground, he got downhill. A lot of the time, his runs aren’t overly sexy, but he breaks tackles, falls forward, and is generally productive.”
The IMG Academy product may have just enrolled at Penn State, but he’s far from a one-dimensional back. He has the rare combination of elusiveness and power that gives him the ability to beat his opponents in a number of ways. Cain is just as good at running through defenders as he is at breaking their ankles, and both those facets of his game were on full display Saturday.
On his first rushing attempt of the game, Cain blew past sophomore Micah Parsons and found the edge for a gain of six yards. Like Franklin said, that’s not necessarily a “sexy” play, but those simple six-yard gains add up and are a huge part of Cain’s identity as a player.
“That’s kind of his style,” Franklin added. “What Noah does a good job of is knowing who he is and playing to his strengths. Today, he didn’t try to be something he’s not. He stuck his foot in the ground, broke arm tackles, fell forward, and got positive yards.”
Perhaps the most impressive part of Cain’s game was his ability to perform no matter who was lined up against him. The White offense came out firing against the Blue defense, which was mostly made up of projected starters and regular contributors, during its first possession of the game.
That possession ultimately ended in a somewhat forgettable three-and-out, but running at established players like Parsons, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Cam Brown clearly didn’t faze Cain.
“Noah Cain did what he’s been doing all spring [during Blue-White],” Brown said. “He ran consistently, found holes, and got those four or five yards. He’s a really consistent back — I was happy with his performance.”
Miles Sanders’ departure opened up a truly open competition for the starting role at the running back position. Journey Brown and Ricky Slade have emerged as the top two backs throughout the spring, but being on top of the depth chart might not guarantee a heavy workload this season.
Earlier this spring, running backs coach JaJuan Seider expressed his desire to keep his running backs fresh during the season. Cain’s performance and progress throughout the team’s 15 spring practices will definitely contribute to the new by-committee approach in the running backs room.
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