With Hall Out, Hyde Wants the Rock
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — When he closes his eyes, Carlos Hyde can still picture his 63-yard touchdown run against Nebraska in Memorial Stadium last October.
It was a crisp, cool night under the lights in Lincoln when Hyde silenced the raucous crowd of more than 80,000 with the longest touchdown run of his career. It gave the Buckeyes what should have been an insurmountable 17-3 lead early in the second quarter, and while the game ended in heartbreak for Ohio State, it was a memorable night for No. 34.
sets sail on a
63-yard TD run against Nebraska
Photo by Jim Davidson
“So far, that's the best run I've had in my college career,” Hyde said this week, “and I won't forget that run. It was the first one that I had that long.”
Hyde had a couple other good runs early in the season – including a 36-yard touchdown run against Toledo – while he was filling in as the team’s starting tailback a year ago. It was that night in Lincoln, however, where Ohio State fans got a true taste of what Hyde might be capable of.
Then a sophomore out of Naples, Fla., Hyde ran for 104 yards and scored two touchdowns that night, the second of which gave the Buckeyes a 27-6 lead early in the third quarter.
“I watched film that whole week and I just knew that one of their linebackers, No. 4, that he played fast on zone,” Hyde said, explaining his long run against the Cornhuskers.
“He didn't stay backside, so I knew that I would have the chance to make a cut backside.”
One move and Hyde was out of the gates. He has that type of straight-line speed, despite the fact he is a 232-pound back who would just as soon run a defender over as run by him. That was evident on Ohio State’s final drive against Michigan State this past weekend in East Lansing.
“They kept giving me the ball,” Hyde said.
“That’s all I want to do is run the ball. They kept running it and I was excited because I know after a while one of those defenders is going to miss a tackle and I’m going to break it.”
The Buckeyes haven’t had many big plays in the running game that didn’t involve Braxton Miller this season. In fact, they haven’t had many big plays on offense that didn’t involve Miller running the football or throwing to wideout Devin Smith.
Ohio State’s longest run of the year outside of the quarterback position was a 19-yard end-around to wideout Corey Brown. Hyde’s longest run this year is only 16 yards, but he is just now coming back from an MCL injury that kept him out of two games.
“Carlos Hyde is still not a hundred percent, but he'll be close to a hundred percent this week,” head coach Urban Meyer said.
“He's a very good player.”
Hyde was wearing a bulky brace on his knee – which he says he is still getting used to – for the Michigan State game, but once he got rolling in the second half, Hyde says the knee wasn’t bothering him at all.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“In the beginning of the game I'd say that I wasn't 100-percent,” he said on Monday.
“Just sitting around with my knees not warming up, I was kind of stiff. But once I got there and go mmmmt running around, broke a sweat, I felt like I was 100-percent but I probably wasn't.”
That’s not going to keep Hyde from taking the field against Nebraska on Saturday. Knowing Carlos, they might have to take his knee off in order to keep him out of this game under the lights at Ohio Stadium.
“I'm expecting the crowd to be crazy and for everybody to be tuned in. I can't wait,” Hyde said.
“I love to compete. Competing just gets you better, so when we have a chance to compete, I just try to give it my all.”
Hyde certainly left it all out there on that final drive against the Spartans. He fought for 18 tough yards on three carries to help the Buckeyes grind the final four minutes off the clock in a 17-16 victory.
He finished with 49 yard, including 45 in the second half after he was asked to carry the load when Jordan Hall went down with his own knee injury.
“When he went down, they called on me and told me I have to step up,” Hyde said after the game.
“J.Hall went down and (they said) the team’s going to rely on you. I just stepped up and took advantage of the opportunity.”
The former 4-star prospect will have another opportunity to carry the football, and his team, on Saturday against Nebraska. The Buckeyes will officially be without Hall, who suffered a partially torn PCL in his right knee during the win over Michigan State.
The spotlight will once again be on Braxton Miller, but Hyde is ready to carry the rock as many times as they will let him.
“Whatever the number is they give me, I'm ready,” he said with a smile.
“I'm happy when the coach calls my number. I thrive off of that. I want to run the ball and when I have the opportunity to run the ball, I'm gonna make the best out of it.”
And if something were to happen to Hyde, well the next guy in line had better feel the same exact way.
“Rod Smith, it's time to go and time to roll,” Meyer added.
“You can only watch for so long. At some point you have to go play the game. The good thing is they've done pretty good, Rod and Bri'onte (Dunn).”
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