This is the 59th in a series of 100 daily posts, a Countdown to College Football. (Sort of.)
Welcome to the closest we have been to the start of the season since yesterday.
Despite innumerable obstacles — most especially laziness — we are now just six weeks away from the start of Ohio State football.*
(*The actual start of Ohio State football is many weeks after this countdown ends, but don’t get yourself hung up on facts.)
Up today is one half of arguably the most dynamic duo in Ohio State history, a potential Big XII Championship Game prematch, a pair of Buckeye freshmen, and a very difficult matchup for an OSU sophomore in The Game.
If you missed yesterday’s edition, you’ll want to remedy that by reading it here.
Now please join us as we continue our countdown of the 100 greatest Buckeyes of The Ozone era (1996-present).
We will also preview one of the 100 most exciting games on this fall’s college football schedule, and one of the 100 things we’re most looking forward to this fall.
Plus, we’ll preview one of this season’s 100 biggest personnel matchups.
Greatest Buckeyes Of The Ozone Era
#42 Carlos Hyde, 2010-2013
Carlos Hyde arrived at Ohio State in the 2010 class along with such Buckeye luminaries as Philly Brown, Christian Bryant, Big Hank, Andrew Norwell, and Julian Vann.
As a true freshman, Hyde played in eight games, carrying the ball 24 times for 141 yards (5.9 ypc). His season high — as it usually did for freshmen back then — came against Indiana, with nine rushes for 48 yards.
As a sophomore in 2011, Hyde actually started the first three games while the Buckeyes were without Boom Herron and Jordan Hall. Hyde rushed for 223 yards in those three games, then saw his carries diminish when Hall returned. Carries then became even more sparse when Herron returned from suspension to become OSU’s starter again. Hyde didn’t carry the ball against either Wisconsin or Michigan that year.
Hyde once again began the season as the Buckeyes’ starter in 2012, but missed a couple of early games due to a knee injury. Over the second half of the season, however, he got back in the saddle and had games of 140 yards against Nebraska (4 touchdowns), 156 yards against Indiana, 137 yards against Illinois, and 146 yards against Michigan. For the year, he rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Carlos Hyde’s senior season, however, is where he and Braxton Miller became a dominating duo.
Suspended for three games to start the season for putting himself in a position that he shouldn’t have been in, Hyde didn’t start his first game of the year until week five. Beginning with week six, however, Hyde’s rushing totals looked like this: 168 yards, 149 yards, 147 yards, 111 yards, 246 yards, 117 yards, 226 yards (Michigan), 118 yards, and 113 yards.
Hyde was named the Big Ten’s Running Back of the Year following a 2013 season in which he rushed for 1,521 yards on 208 carries.
He is ninth all-time in rushing at Ohio State (3,198 yards). His 7.3 yards per carry in 2013 is a school record.
Best Games This Fall
#42 Oklahoma at TCU
This game takes place October 20, which comes two weeks after the Red River Shootout for Oklahoma. The Sooners get a bye week prior to heading to TCU, which is a nice little perk in the middle of the season.
TCU, interestingly, plays Texas Tech at home on Thursday the week before, so they’ll get a couple of extra days in preparation for Oklahoma.
These two teams met in last year’s Big XII Championship Game, with the Sooners coming away with an easy 41-17 win. That win came a few weeks after a 38-20 OU win at home to TCU as well.
In both losses, TCU was ranked in the Top 10 and Oklahoma was in the Top 5.
In 2016, the No. 21 Horned Frogs lost at home to the Sooners 52-46. The year before, OU came away with a 30-29 win. TCU’s last win over Oklahoma was in 2014.
They are due. And without Baker Mayfield at quarterback anymore for the Sooners, TCU has to feel pretty good about their possibilities this time around.
What We Can’t Wait To See
#42 Master Teague and Brian Snead
Tom Orr and I were recording a podcast that we’ll be airing in July when one of us is on vacation and we got to talking about Michael Wiley and David Boston as freshmen in 1996. With the way their careers began, they brought a feeling of unlimited potential.
That got me thinking about a pair of Buckeye freshmen this year, specifically running backs Master Teague and Brian Snead. Teague looked very promising this spring, and Snead doesn’t have any doubters around the OSU program right now. Together, they could eventually be special. Immediately, however, they should still be pretty interesting to watch.
So I’m looking forward to seeing something from each of them this year. Watching new stars emerge never gets old, and the sooner we see them do something amazing, the better it is.
Even though the Buckeyes aren’t desperate for carries, they are still going to want to get the freshmen some reps. I’m expecting some special moments this season. Maybe not as many as we saw from last year’s freshman running back, but there will be enough for a couple of highlight videos and maybe a SportsCenter Top 10 or two.
Matchup To Watch
#42 Chase Winovich, MICH DE vs. Thayer Munford
Despite the attention that linemate Rashan Gary gets, it was Chase Winovich who led the Big Ten with 18.5 tackles for loss last season. And it was Winovich who led Michigan with 8.0 sacks as well.
A pass rushing specialist, Winovich is quick, fast, and tireless. When he meets up with true sophomore Thayer Munford in November, he will have several athletic advantages.
That is the case with most defensive ends, however. The great offensive tackles are able to use technique, as well as their own strength and athleticism to combat even the speediest of rushers.
Munford had a rough spring game, but had a very good spring. His coaches will give him every opportunity to hold onto the job he won in the spring. By October they will know whether or not they want him in the mix in November. And by November, he will be as good as he’s ever been.
But will he be good enough to contain Chase Winovich? If he is, then you’ve gotta like the Buckeyes’ chances.