Injury Bug Strikes Backfield Again

By Kyle Rowland on September 29, 2012 at 11:37p

There isn’t a more dangerous position in the country than Ohio State running back. On the day that Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde finally got in the backfield together, it lasted all of two quarters in Ohio State’s 17-16 win over Michigan State on Saturday. 

Hall was injured in the first half

Hall went down late in the first half with a knee injury and did not return. Before his early exit, he was having a fine day, reaching the end zone and rushing for 32 yards on six carries. The mishap comes just two games after Hall returned from a foot injury and one week after a career-high 105 yards.

The Buckeyes were excited about having their top two running backs in the lineup together. The intrigue of putting them on the field at the same time drew suspense, but it never came to fruition against Michigan State. The two alternated the first few possessions until Hall’s injury.

In Hall’s absence, Hyde rushed for 49 yards in 11 carries. Modest stats, but the real game-changing runs came in the fourth quarter when Ohio State was attempting to run out the clock. On 3rd-and-4, Hyde busted through the line into the teeth of the Michigan State defense. They didn’t drag him down until he gained the all-important first down.

“I came to Ohio State for plays like that,” Hyde said. “Coach called my number and told me if I got the first down the game was over, so I was determined to get that first down.”

Hyde had 18 yards on the final possession.

“That was a hell of an effort,” head coach Urban Meyer said.

Meyer did not have specifics on Hall's injury or the severity, only that it was his knee. 

More Coaching Turmoil

In the months after Urban Meyer’s hiring in November, he drew the ire of some fellow Big Ten coaches. Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema threw barbs about the de-commitment of Kyle Dodson, going as far to accuse Meyer of recruiting improprieties. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio also was upset with Meyer’s recruiting practices. Se’Von Pittman, a one-time Spartan commit, changed his mind and pledged his allegiance to the Buckeyes once Meyer came onboard.

It was all ironed out, though, with a little help from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. At Big Ten media day in July, Meyer and Bielema spoke of each other as if they were best friends. Then, during the lead up to Saturday’s game, Meyer and Dantonio praised one another.

The back-patting came to an end almost the second after Meyer and Dantonio shook hands at midfield following the Buckeyes’ win. Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press that Ohio State altered the required game film that teams send opponents.

The accusations center around Ohio State allegedly cutting out pre-snap motions and shifts.

“We had tape cut off all week, where they changed the tape, I’m not gonna lie to you,” Narduzzi told the Free Press after the game. “They send you tape and they’ve got it all cut off and you don’t get to see shifts or motions or anything else.

The full tapes finally arrived on Thursday, but by then all the game-planning was over.

“It doesn’t help you,” Narduzzi said.

Michigan State conveyed its complaint to the Big Ten office, but reports are that Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis and Ohio State AD Gene Smith squashed the issue.

When asked about it outside the Ohio State locker room, Meyer said, “I don't know anything about that. I don't handle the video. What are they saying?"

Silver Bullets Regain Their Shine

After California gained more than 500 yards on the Ohio State defense, alarm bells went off. When Alabama-Birmingham put up 400-plus, panic was nearing, especially with Le’Veon Bell on tap.

Not to worry. The bend-but-don’t-break defense didn’t even bend on Saturday. Bell, the nation’s third-leading rusher before Saturday was limited to just 45 yards on 17 carries, well below his average of more than five yards per carry. It’s safe to assume Ohio State will no longer be last in total defense in the Big Ten.

"On defense, are you kidding, if you had to say who was the MVP, it's that defensive line and the linebackers," Meyer said. "They did a very, very nice job stopping a very good rushing attack.”

Bell, a native of Columbus, was averaging 152 yard per game. Twice this season he’s rushed for more than 200 yards in a game. 

“That’s a good back,” Meyer said. “I’m venturing to say that won’t happen again to that guy.”

Ohio State limited Michigan State to 303 total yards and 34 rushing yards. Bell actually gained more yards receiving than rushing, hauling in eight passes for 58 yards.

“They made us pass the ball,” he said. “The safety wasn’t actually on the line of scrimmage, but they brought him down to where the linebacker would. They played man on the outside and made sure to stop the run.”

The biggest miscue the Ohio State defense had all day was in the third quarter when no less than five Buckeye defenders made contact with wide receiver Keith Mumphrey, only to allow him to reach the end zone. On the final 10 yards of the 29-yard catch-and-run, Mumphrey had a number of Buckeyes on his back, some trying to strip the ball from his grip.


Comments Show All Comments

Grayskullsession's picture

How serious is Hall's injury. I really want this kid to make it here but injuries have sidelined him almost his entire time.

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

DallasTheologian's picture

Dantonio and his staff have really turned into a bunch of whiners.

CowCat's picture

^^^ This.
Narduzzi is a whiney sore loser.
You lost.  DEAL WITH IT
Pittman wanted to be a Buckeye in the first place.  DEAL WITH IT.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

MediBuck's picture

I like how Narduzzi waited until AFTER the game to leak everything to the press. Sour grapes much?

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

CALPOPPY's picture

"There isn’t a more dangerous position in the country than Ohio State running back."
AIRBHG would beg to differ.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Iron_Buckeye's picture

We need to get Dunn and Rod more touches, depth at RB has once again become an issue. These young cats really need to step up and be ready!

“The minute we stop expecting greatness from our football program, we become Wisconsin.” Craig Krenzel

cinserious's picture

Looks like Hyde gets some brownie points in Urban's House today! Go Bucks!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

rkylet83's picture

Hyde really impressed me yesterday. The kid showed that he can make plays when it matters most. Running into the teeth of the defense on 3rd down and plowing forward for the first down to close out the game was huge.

Maestro's picture

It seemed like Hall's injury was more of the contusion type than anything.  He banged his knee pretty hard on the ground and when he tried to come back in and play it was clearly bothering him too much to make it worth risking further injury.  I would venture a guess that he is day to day.  Worst case, he appeared to be grabbing the outside of his knee.  Sprained LCL.  Out a week.  Seeing him up on the sidelines the entire 2nd half was a good sign.

vacuuming sucks

Earle's picture

I hope you are right.  Before the game I predicted Hall would run for more yards than Bell.  Obviously, I meant to say Hyde.  Seriously, I hope he's not out long, since he gives us a much more explosive option from that position.  Gotta love how hard Carlos runs, though.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

Urban John Simon Meyer's picture

I really wish the D would quit allowing one play per game that is tailor-made for Sports Center. Seven guys and no tackle really??

cinserious's picture

At this point, who cares about the strip?!?!?!?! How about you guys worry about wrapping up and putting carriers/receivers on the ground? This defense can look so much better if they just worry about fundamentals and making the sure tackle/slowdown. Besides that, and getting smashed on screens, and giving up way too many yards on punt/kickoff coverage we could really hold teams down this year. I really hope its not like 'we are who we are' at this point and they can't improve these things.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Seabass1974's picture

What's up with the tapes? Just DVR the team you are going to play. You'll have everything you need.

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. - Woody Hayes

cplunk's picture

Coaches tape looks nothing like the broadcast. Broadcast focuses on the ball, but most the important stuff happens off the ball. There is a lot you can't tell from the Tv broadcast.

buckeyedude's picture

Why can't they do like in HS football and send a scout team to the opponents game the week before? If they can afford to do this in HS, surely they can swing it in college.



gumtape's picture


It is coaches tape, including endzone angles that are not available on broadcasts.

Besides, how often are we watching and the broadcast crew sends us back to "bristol" for an update on a game we don't care about and they miss the next snap? Happens more often with our new no huddle offense.

High and tight boo boo

BeijingBucks's picture

Lame excuse... we havent showed more than half a dozen different backfield looks and motions.
I'm sure that's what the video guy said... you've already seen this.  Unless they wanted to count tendencies, snap counts, etc which would be totally different with a completely healthy 2RB backfield (that didn't even happen) in an away game environment anyway.
It actually makes me wonder how much they were jumping our snaps last year based on those tapes -- seeing as we never varied an offensive cadence the entire year.

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I wouldn't give our D too much undue credit.  A competent passing attack would have given us fits.

Read my entire screen name....

cajunbuckeye's picture

That's not very optimistic, coming from someone who uses that in their title.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

flipbuckeye's picture

You should read his full username. Click it. If anything, do it for Raven Riley.

cajunbuckeye's picture

Aaah, now I clearly see through the darkness. Thanks FLIP.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

BigRedBuckeye's picture

Someone explain what Raven Riley has to do with this...

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

Crimson's picture

Click on Optimistic's profile, and you get a bigger profile picture, that of Raven Riley.  There is a bit of a following for her among the posters here.

Boxley's picture

More like a competent receiving corp. whole different game if MSU players caught even half of their drops.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

Defiance J's picture

I credit them with only giving up 16 points.

Bolt's picture

Guys still were managing to get wide open all over the place against us. This is a pitiful offense that we held down and it still could have been much different if they had any kind of decent passing game. The TD we gave up might well be the worst defensive play I've seen in years. At one point the WR gets knocked into Travis Howard and Howard almost says, oh excuse me and gets out of his way. Of course that was after Christian "almost big play" Bryant almost delivered another big play by throwing a big shoulder into the receiver...followed by Etienne Sabino forgetting that not only do you have to score TDs yourself, but you have to stop the other team from doing so. This would all be for nothing, of course, if we were playing two hand touch, because Orhian Johnson made a great tagdown 7 yards downfield after the completion.

Geraffi's picture

Not sure what game all of you bashers were watching. I saw the best effort of the year. Some solid defense minus a couple of pass plays and, of course the TD catch and run with missed tackles. Overall though, a pretty solid defensive game. Strong against the run. 
On offense, we looked more consistent than in any game this year. Keep in mind that Braxton and Hall both got dinged up, with hall going out early. Braxton made a few poor decisions, keeping instead of pitching, but again, I thought the overall performance was solid. 
Reember, this game was in East Lansing where the fighting dantonios have a solid home record; and the MSU defense is considered one of the best in the country. I don't think we were dominated on either side of the ball, unlike previous games.
This was a good win!  I'll take it. 
Go, Ohio. Beat Nebraskaaaaa!

BuckeyeFanInBoulder's picture

I saw the best effort of the year.

Agreed on D.  Lots of dropped balls were either a direct result of inept receivers or our secondary.  The secondary looked much better (tight coverage for example) than in previous weeks, as did the LBs and D-Line.  We still managed to make a bad passer look like a world beater, but it did get better.
I wasn't sure what was going on there with the offensive play calling.  Several plays were attempted unsuccessfully multiple times.  Stoneburner, are you out there?  Anything to make the blitzathon LBs pay would have been nice to see.  I really hope to see Braxton letting Hyde do more heavy lifting in the near future.

Boxley's picture

Agree completely, where is the tight end cross fade , is it only used by every team we play, and we never use it. How many catches did their monster tight end get, wide open over the middle? even one is more than we got.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

ek68's picture

Great team win!! Both the "D" & "O" lines came to play!! Yes, I saw the middle of the field open & still is a concern. I questioned this teams desire & boy they showed me!! I know Braxton is the key & will be for the rest of the season. I agree he is still learning this offense & the required reads. His improvement is showing each game. WOW!! Hope to see more of this as the season continues. GO BUCKS!!! 




buckeyedude's picture

I think the OSU offense won this game, thankfully. The defense played good, not great. I'd give it a C+. When MSU was throwing the ball around, the secondary looked clueless as usual. But the D line got pressure and the LBs played good. Still need better play from CBs and Safety. I much prefer when we blitz and play man-to-man on the corners.
But to end on a postive note, we won our first road game. Anyway you can etch out a win. Meyer is pleased, as am I.



Bolt's picture

Well, best defensive effort for sure...but this is also an offense that hasn't been able to muster anything outside of #24 all year. A team that scored 3 whole points against Notre Dame. This is a bad offense and I still saw plenty of holes. John Hankins is an absolute monster, though. That guy is living up to all of the hype this year. I thought Orhian Johnson made several nice plays throughout the game once again. I haven't gotten to see the replay and I was in the stadium for it, but I thought he played a fine game. Offensively I thought we were just fine. We racked up 400 or whatever yards against the best defense we'll play all year and that was with Brax having 3 turnovers. That's very encouraging. They had no answer for Braxton just outside of a couple of mistakes on his part. I can't wait to see him running wild on that blah Michigan defense.

Jdadams01's picture

I don't know why you all thought that Urban showing up meant we were immediately going to win every game by 50. Two things: other schools have scholarship players, too. And this is a transition year where the players are getting used to new systems/coaches and Meyer doesn't have all of the players he wants yet. And I don't know why you guys expect our LBs to never make a single mistake when we have terrible depth and have had major attrition at the position over the last few years.

Crimson's picture

No one is saying that we should beat Sparty by 50.  People who are criticising the defense are saying that they still haven't learned how to cover the pass, which could have hurt if they had a decent passing game.  A lot of it goes on the LBs, but the safeties aren't consistently good either (although Johnson kept laying the wood on that same pass play they kept running).  I saw Roby and Howard made more mistakes than usual, but they still played well.

buckeyedude's picture

I am thrilled OSU won, but I think had those inept MSU receivers hung on to a few of the balls they dropped, balls that were right on the money for the most part, this game would have had a different outcome.
I'll take it though.



Bolt's picture

I credit Orhian Johnson for jarring a few of those loose too. I thought he had another solid game sans the two hand touch attempt in Sparty's TD.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

I'd have to agree with the more postive outlooks.  That was a great defense we played, the best we'll see all year and we moved the ball pretty well. The turnovers prevented more points, but we had enough in the end.  Braxton still needs to learn his reads better so we don't have so many negative plays, but he is really improved overall and will continue to.
Defensive line was awesome yesterday.  I was pleasantly surprised by williams, best game he has had in a while.   Overall, not the best defense that we have seen (obviously), but not terrible either. this team is going to struggle against the pass all year, we just have to come to the realization of where the weaknesses are - and pass defense is the biggest.
as the offense gets better, the defense giving up passing yards will hurt less and less. I hope anyway.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

If if if. If I had a tail, I might be a cat, or a dog, or a monkey. Then again, it might just be a turd hanging out of a baboon's butt. So IF the MSU receivers hang on and score more points, then we don't fumble or turn it over at critical times, and Narduzzi doesn't pick at the lint in his panties, and the astroid in 1989 doesn't miss the earth by six hours and we are all dead anyway.

Stop with the insane "iffing". I've been to the future and it happened the exact same way in every single parallel universe I have visited.

I like cookies.