Three Nittany Lions to Watch Against Michigan

By Barry Leonard on October 17, 2019 at 8:00 am
Oct 12, 2019; Iowa City, IA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Noah Cain (21) runs with the ball against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the fourth quarter at Kinnick Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

White Out week is finally here. It's the game that draws the most buzz each season and puts the most eyes on Happy Valley. This year's matchup features the No. 16 Michigan Wolverines against the No. 7 Nittany Lions.

When you combine the matchup of ranked teams, the presence of College GameDay, and the all-day tailgating, the atmosphere in Beaver Stadium is sure to be electric. 

Not only is this battle important for the Big Ten race, but it also has huge implications nationally, as Penn State is one of a handful of teams that could be in the mix for a spot in the College Football Playoff. 

So who are the Nittany Lions to watch in this important battle with the Wolverines?

RB Noah Cain 

The true freshman finds himself back on the watch list this week after emerging as the star of the Penn State backfield. After using a rotation of four guys through the first few games, Cain has proven to be the best running back and has earned the right to have the most carries. 

Cain broke out two weeks ago against Purdue with 12 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up with a career-high 22 carries for 102 yards and a score against Iowa last week

Michigan is allowing over 120 rushing yards per game this year, which bodes well for Cain. Penn State is going to want to use the rushing attack to control the tempo of the game, so there will be another great opportunity for Cain to have his third straight 100-yard performance. 

WR KJ Hamler 

Hamler is Penn State's most dynamic playmaker, and when he's on, the offense usually rolls. Whether he's taking a short pass and breaking off a big play, bolting down the field to make a deep grab, or making moves in the return game, he's a threat to score every time he touches the ball. 

The standout sophomore leads the Nittany Lions this season with 26 receptions for 455 yards and five receiving touchdowns. He enters the matchup with Michigan having found the endzone in each of the last three games. 

If the Nittany Lions want to be victorious on Saturday, Hamler is going to have to be involved early and often. Ricky Rahne and Co. have found a way to get Hamler the ball in different situations, and that's going to have to continue Saturday. 

DT Robert Windsor 

Penn State entered this season with one of the deepest and most talented defensive lines in the country. Each week, it seems a new player has stepped up and made big plays. 

Defensive tackle Robert Windsor was really making a name for himself at the tail-end of last season and he's continued his strong play this year. He was a force for the Nittany Lions last week in Iowa City, racking up six total tackles, including 1.5 sacks. 

The Nittany Lions have relied on their defense this season and the unit has a good opportunity to make a huge statement this weekend. Michigan has struggled to get anything going on offense, so Windsor and his fellow defensive linemen should be ready to tee off on the Wolverines.