Even with Journey Brown out, Penn State QB Sean Clifford confident in talent in backfield
The No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions shared some unfortunate news on the night of October 19 when it was announced redshirt junior running back Journey Brown could be sidelined for the duration of the 2020 season with an undisclosed medical issue.
Following in the footsteps of Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders, the Meadville, Pennsylvania native ran for a team-leading 890 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago. Perhaps most impressively, Brown reached this yardage total on just 129 carries, an average of 6.9 yards per attempt.
Despite the loss of this offensive weapon, quarterback Sean Clifford, a fellow redshirt junior, expressed his confidence in the other running backs on the roster, via The Athletic’s Audrey Snyder.
Sean Clifford says Journey Brown has been great in his new role helping the younger RBs. Calls him "the ultimate teammate." Devyn Ford and Noah Cain have taken a big step forward in pass protection, Clifford said. "They're both poised to have really good seasons."
— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) October 21, 2020
Cain, a sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who finished his prep career at Bradenton, Florida’s IMG Academy, was the Nittany Lions’ second-leading rusher in 2019, tallying 443 yards and eight scores on 84 attempts, an average of 5.3 yards per carry.
Another sophomore, Ford, a Stafford, Virginia native, averaged 5.7 yards per rush in his debut campaign, registering 294 yards and three touchdowns on 52 carries.
Clifford himself was a vital part of Penn State’s ground attack last fall, accumulating 402 yards and five scores on 116 keepers. He was relatively efficient through the air, as well, completing 59.2 percent of his passes (189-of-319) for 2,654 yards, 23 scores and seven interceptions.
The Nittany Lions will open their season in Bloomington against the Indiana Hoosiers at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on FS1.