Hyde was Asking for the Football in Madison
By Brandon Castel
MADISON, Wisc. — Carlos Hyde didn’t celebrate his game-winning touchdown on Saturday night.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Hyde didn’t flex his biceps, show his gloves to the crowd or even pump his fist in the air after his 2-yard plunge gave the Buckeyes the lead on the first possession of overtime under the lights in Camp Randall Stadium.
He was just happy to get the ball.
“I was trying to tell my coach, ʻCome on. Letʼs run some power or something. Letʼs just get going,ʼ ” Hyde acknowledged in the moments following Ohio State’s 21-14 win over Wisconsin.
“Iʼm like, ʻLet me get this going, get this spark going for this offense so we can really start flowing.ʼ”
Ohio State’s junior tailback has never been shy about wanting the football, especially when he’s feeling good. Hyde averaged nearly six yards per carry against the Badgers, but never really found a rhythm in the offensive gameplan on Saturday.
He carried the ball just five times in the first half for 34 yards and Ohio State’s only offensive touchdown, and then he touched it only eight times in the second half, despite the fact quarterback Braxton Miller was having a tremendously difficult time finding any room to run against Wisconsin’s defense.
“I just felt like if they would have just gave me the ball more, I just felt like I couldʼve got the momentum going,” Hyde added in the postgame interview room.
“If they wouldʼve gave me the ball more, I felt like I couldʼve sparked the offense.”
Hyde wasn’t the only one who felt that way. He was joined by just about every OSU fan in the stadium, not to mention those watching at home, along with his quarterback and even his head coach.
“I think we need to give him the ball a little bit more,” Meyer said after the game.
That appeared obvious in overtime, when the Buckeyes scored their second offensive touchdown of the game on just four plays. The first one was an outside run to Hyde that he had been waiting for all night long.
“I was like, ʻHere we go, letʼs see how this play works,ʼ ” Hyde said of his first overtime carry.
“Boom, 10 yards, right off the bat.”
It looked like that play might have been there most of the night. According to Hyde, Wisconsin was playing contain on Miller with both defensive ends instead of trying to get a pass rush on the sophomore quarterback.
They played mostly man-to-man coverage on the outside and brought a safety down into the box to keep an eye on Ohio State’s dynamic Heisman Trophy candidate.
“We tried to put someone else in the box. That was a little strain on the coverage, but I think we did a pretty darn good job in coverage today,” Wisconsin safety Dezmen Southward said after the game.
“That freed up one more guy to always have eyes on him. You have to. If you don't, he's going to gash you. That's with him and Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez, you have to have guys on those guys or they’re really going to hurt you.”
But Miller didn’t hurt the Badgers all night. He finished with his second-worst rushing performance of the season (just 48 yards on 23 carries) and his worst statistical passing night since last November against Penn State.
Miller’s longest run of the night went for just 10 yards, and even he admitted he was getting flustered with the lack production by an offense that has put up some big numbers for most of this season.
“I have no idea what they did, but they did a good job at it,” said Miller, who completed 10 of his 18 passes for just 97 yards in Madison.
“I couldn’t get to the edge. Whenever I tried to cut back there was somebody shooting the gaps. They had a good game plan. It was frustrating.”
Hyde says he kept telling his quarterback to stay calm and eventually something good would happen. He was right, but it wouldn’t come until after Wisconsin had tied the game at 14-apiece with just eight seconds on the clock.
Ohio State’s offense had been so out of sync all night, Meyer had his quarterback take a knee instead of risking a negative play on a hail Mary pass, which is exactly what Miller used to beat the Badgers in Columbus last season.
But in overtime, Hyde’s 11-yard run on first down sparked a newfound confidence in the Buckeyes. Miller ran four yards on the next play and then took off for eight on 2nd-and-6 to give Ohio State a first down at the Wisconsin two yard line.
It was Hyde who finished the job behind Ohio State’s offensive line.
“Usually, we are a team that when we block someone, we have a chance to win,” Meyer added.
“I donʼt feel like we blocked them like we have in the past and we have to get back to that.”
They only have one more chance, but it sounds like they plan to get No. 34 some more touches. Not a bad idea for a kid averaging over five yards per carry for his career.
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