Northwestern Notebook: Hyde Overcome With Emotion After Career Night

By Kyle Rowland on October 6, 2013 at 3:28a
26 Comments
An emotional Carlos Hyde.

EVANSTON, Ill. – It was a simple question.

Carlos Hyde was asked what he would think when he woke up tomorrow morning. He paused momentarily to think and then said he would thank God. He didn’t say another word for 24 seconds.

Tears formed in Hyde’s eyes and rolled down his cheeks as he tried to gather himself. It was an incredible showing of emotion by the running back who was suspended for the season’s first three games.

“That suspension, it really hurt not being out there with my brothers because I made a mistake,” said Hyde, who rushed for a career-high 168 yards and three touchdowns in Ohio State’s 40-30 win over Northwestern.

It was a virtuoso performance when the Buckeyes’ season looked like it could go over a cliff. Instead, they rode Hyde to their 18th straight win. Nos. 13, 14 and 15 came with Hyde sitting in his off-campus apartment, far away from Ohio Stadium, 105,000 adoring fans and 100 of his brothers.

“We all make mistakes” Meyer said,  “I hope this is a game-changer for him, even when he’s done playing football.”

Hyde called the suspension one of the hardest things he’s ever experienced. On Saturday night, he gained some redemption in saving his team’s national championship hopes and proving to his teammates and coaches that he’s still the dependable running back that came up big in Ohio State’s undefeated 2012 season.

“It’s definitely something I've been waiting for,” Hyde said. “I just kept my faith.”

That’s what he did at halftime, too. With the Buckeyes’ trailing 20-13, Hyde lit into his fellow offensive teammates. Northwestern held Ohio State to two field goals in the half with the Buckeyes inside the red zone.

“I went in the locker room and told the offense that’s unacceptable,” Hyde said. “That’s not us. We score points. We don’t kick field goals.”

In the second half, Hyde ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns. The most significant was the last, coming with less than six minutes left in the game on a seven-yard rumble.

A torrential downpour an hour before kickoff made field conditions less than desirable, so running the ball wasn’t a surprise. Ohio State had 48 rushes for 248 yards. That Dontre Wilson had none of them was a surprise.

Like Hyde, Philly Brown also had a career night.

Grounded

The aerial assault did not continue. Entering Saturday’s game, Ohio State had thrown 19 touchdown passes, well ahead of pace to break the single-season school record of 33 set in 1995.

But a Northwestern secondary that has given up 307.5 yards per game kept the Buckeye receivers out of the end zone. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t production through the air. Braxton Miller finished with 203 passing yards, with a bulk of those – 127, to be exact – going to Philly Brown. It was the first 100-yard game of Brown's career.

Miller has tossed six touchdown passes, while backup Kenny Guiton has thrown 13. Ohio State’s 19 were second only to Oregon State until Saturday’s goose egg. 

One year after being demeaned by the coaching staff, most famously by Meyer who referred to the offense and wide receivers as a “clown show” and non-functional,” the unit and it’s quarterback have become one of the top scoring threats in the nation.

“You guys saw how people started playing us the latter half of last year,” offensive coordinator Tom Herman said. “In order for us to be who we want to be running the football, we had to make that a viable threat. So we worked our tails off to make sure we were effective, if not proficient, at throwing the ball downfield.”

The passing game has already seen career and school records in the first half of the season. At Cal, Guiton engineered the longest play from scrimmage in school history – a 90-yard scoring strike to Devin Smith. One week later, Guiton threw six touchdown passes, all in the first half, to establish a new single-game Ohio State record. Miller returned the following week against Wisconsin, and all he did was a tie a career high with four touchdown passes.

The six-point plays aren’t just beneficial to the Buckeyes’ place on the scoreboard, they’ve also been backbreakers for the defense. Ohio State has six touchdown passes of at least 20 yards and eight plays of 40-plus yards. 

“I don’t know if I remember this many explosive pass plays this early in the season – ever,” Meyer said. “We couldn’t do that last year.”

Said Miller: “There’s just more confidence in the guys. Last year, we didn’t really know how to run routes, and I really wasn’t comfortable with the playbook as much as I am right now. It’s just taking time with ball placement, and getting a lot of reps with the guys. It helps a lot.”

Even on an off night at Northwestern Miller was able to complete four passes for 64 yards on the game-winning drive. The production is a welcome change for Meyer, offensive coordinator Tom Herman and wide receivers coach Zach Smith. Even in an undefeated season that saw Ohio State’s offense improve dramatically, 2012 still wasn’t so kind to the passing game. The Buckeyes averaged well under 200 yards per game.

“It’s probably the biggest thing we needed to do coming into this year,” Smith said. “We needed to establish a wider arsenal of skill players to use. That was critical for us, because defenses can take away one guy, one position. But if they have to worry about five skill players every snap, everything opens up.”

Eleven different players have caught a pass this season. Still, Meyer’s offense is sometimes misinterpreted. Yes, it’s an up-tempo system that tries to exploit mismatches, getting playmakers in space to gain large chunks of yardage. But it’s also based on power and running just as frequently as throwing – 50/50, as Meyer puts it, hence Hyde’s career night.

“The sky’s the limit for our offense,” wide receiver Evan Spencer said. “We have so many weapons and we can do so many different things. I can’t even imagine all the things we can do.”

Blockade

The progress at receiver doesn’t stop at receptions. Ohio State’s pass-catchers have also developed into valuable blockers. At Cal, versus Wisconsin and again last night at Northwestern, the Buckeyes have benefited from active receivers.

Ohio State has the nation’s 12th ranked rushing offense. Miller, Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall and a veteran offensive line are largely responsible, but so too are names like Evan Spencer, Philly Brown, Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett.

After the Buckeyes’ 52-34 win over Cal, Meyer praised Spencer, who finished with one catch for two yards. The minimal receiving yards did nothing to deter Meyer’s attitude.

“That’s one of the best efforts I’ve ever seen a wide receiver play,” Meyer said. “And I’m not talking about the ball in his hands. We tried to get it to him a few times, but his blocking of the safeties was as good as I’ve ever seen.”

Spencer said blocking is the forgotten skill when it comes to receivers. He’s made it a point to improve and make blocking a vital part of his skill set.

“I approached every practice as singling out one thing to get better at, and I just kept doing that over and over again,” Spencer said. “It ended up with me having a pretty good camp and following it up with us collectively having a pretty good year so far.”

Receivers are only noticed for spectacular catches and equally spectacular drops. They become invisible when they aren’t making catches, and certainly, fans rarely take notice of blocking on the edge. But it was hard not to notice several big blocks that helped spring Hyde Saturday. 

“It shows we’ve got every-down players,” Vannett said. “We don’t have just receiving guys and just blocking guys. We’ve got guys who can do it all. That helps going against a defense, because they don’t know what to expect.”

26 Comments

Comments

thekornidentity's picture

What an effort by this team tonight. Great teams find a way to win even when they don't play their best games. 

“Nothing that comes easy in this world is worth a damn.” -Woody Hayes

UrbanCulture's picture

I want to actually see how many different things this offense can do. It seems like our passing game is deep balls or 7 yard turnaround routes with nothing in between, and our running game is pretty vanilla. 
I know we have the weapons but I don't know if miller is the type of QB to utilize all the weapons on the field. I think he relies more on his own natural talent than that of those around him, whereas Kenny G distributes the ball to the playmakers.

Orlando Pancakes's picture

Urban, I respectfully disagree. Did you not watch last week's game against Wisconsin? How about that play in this game where he stopped short of the first down marker (and he could have run for it easy) and he threw a completion that got about 20 more yards than if he had ran it? That is just one example from this game but Braxton clearly looks to pass (and hence involve other skill players) than run. A lot of his runs tonight were called runs. I think Braxton is the ultimate weapon for what we have. You could also debate a few others (Johnny Football, Tajh Boyd, Winston from FSU maybe) but he is at or near the top.

Poison nuts's picture

I have to say I agree with Urbanculture above. Yes, Braxton did do some positive things tonight, but on the whole, he looked timid & unsure in trusting others around him - much like last year. Seems like the past two games have been very different as far as distribution to playmakers is concerned.
While there is no doubt in my mind that Braxton's abilities are superior to Kenny G, it's my belief that Kenny is just plain better at trusting both himself & his fellow players to do their jobs. He just has more confidence. There was a time where it looked like Braxton's fumbles could end up costing dearly. I thoroughly enjoyed the Cal game in which everyone got a chance to shine where as they've now reverted to last year's offense somewhat in which Hyde, Braxton & a few receivers are Doing almost everything. I don't know if they don't trust Dontre suddenly, but I expected to see more of him in this one. One other thing that had me bloodying my knuckles from punching the walls was the drops by tight ends - maybe it was just Jeff H but two perfectly placed balls were dropped. Thank goodness for Carlos Hyde because that guy almost single handedly won the game on sheer will alone.
This may seem like I'm bitching & unsatisfied...I'm not & I'm not. I follow the "just win them all" theory. Anyone who knows me knows I am not big on complaints about winning.. But I'll admit the team seems to be regressing as a whole & has been suddenly one dimensional or at least less multi-dimensional. I think the team could go to the NC game this year & if so, they will need to be hitting on all cylinders to beat the likes of Oregon/Clemson/Bama/FSU... I hope the remainder of the season shows us the team where all the weapons (there are many) get their hands on the ball. Lastly, I will say I was impressed as hell that all those things could go wrong & the team still find a way to win. That's what great teams do & this is a great team no doubt.
EDIT: I wrote all this not remembering there was a wet field...and will admit I was probably a little tougher on Braxton & team than was necessary.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

fanatibuck's picture

I love El Guapo!! He's the man!!!

THE URBANATOR AND HIS BOYS' JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN; 26-0 IS COMING BABY!!

buckguyfan1's picture

A very good player, played a very good game, and helped a very good Team get a great Victory.  Thank you Carlos, Viva El Guapo!
 

shizawn9415's picture

We're not regressing, we're just not playing cupcakes!  NW and Wisconsin are two good, ranked at the time teams.
Am I shocked at how much some of the others were not used? YES.  I really wanted to see Dontre return every single kick since he was a no-show on offense. (not even one snap?) 
But winning trumps everything and I cant wait for these next few easier games we play at home. 

Jabba the Hoke's picture

I think the wet feild had something to do with Wilson's absence from the offense. He's put the ball on the ground a few times.

GV9's picture

Dontre should've been allowed to run back the kicks that only entered the front half of the end zone.  Why shackle a rising star like that?  Free Dontre!    

buckeyepastor's picture

Watching Miller last night, not sure if he's just physically not yet fully recovered from injury, or if mentally he's just struggling with his reads and geeting his confidence back.   Miller looked indecisive both in the pass game and the run game, and is still not always making the right call on zone reads in a way that it appears that he's pre-determining what to do with the ball.   Either way, really hope the off week allows some time to give some attention to it. 
I noticed several times last night where Miller committed to run, tucked to go, and had some space in front of him to accelerate but only took a couple steps and seemed to deliberate instead of just going.    I kept waiting for him to kick it into another gear and go full speed in open space, but it seemed like he was hesitant to do that.  Granted, I'm watching on TV, so maybe he just saw that he was contained by the pursuit.   He also pulled up short, just a yard or so short, a couple of times of getting the first down.   Maybe the early fumble sort of got to him.  I don't know.  
All that said, while he didn't play his best game, Miller was accurate and dependable when we needed it most, and he did have more drops than usual from receivers last night.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

D-Day0043's picture

Well said. Miller misses about 3/4 of the time on zone reads. When he takes off he isn't outrunning anyone anymore and he tries to juke rather than get up field. I'm sure the knee has everything to do with that, but if he isn't capable of making those plays, then they don't need to be running them. His accuracy falters when he gets rattled. He is going to have to learn to keep his composure. 
He gives you that jaw dropping amazingly athletic play, but then misses on several of the easy ones. I would much rather see him make the easy plays consistently.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

GV9's picture

What really shocked me was the miss on our wide open guy in the end zone.  It didn't slip out of his hands, it just required a soft touch and he fired a bullet 10 feet over the receiver's head.  

bigbill992001's picture

Urb said he was gonna ride Guapo, and ride him, he did.   Thanks, Carlos, we really needed you today and you came thru in champ fashion.
Now, does our Defensive Staff actually teach arm tackiling?   Thats about all I saw today from our D.    Give a WR a 15yd cushion, then try to arm tackle as he runs by you.    Is that the game plan?   If it was, it worked.    Even Shazier isnt putting the wood to people like last yr.   I was watching some hi-lites of him last yr. and when he hit people, they stayed hit.   All but a few went backwards.    Once again, I was embarrassed for Robey.   Whats up with that guy?
It looked like KG was gonna get in the game for a while there.   I saw him warming up on the sidelines.   It wouldnt break my heart to see KG get a series or 2.
Anyway, we came out with a win and I'll take that.

KLF Buckeye's picture

I'm with Jabba, I think Dontre was sidelined because of issues taking care of the ball. We were having a hard enough time taking care of it this night. A damp playing surface doesn't play well into Wilson's skill set, either.

J.Mo's picture

For all the people that are giving Ohio State a hard time about it's schedule and it's "weak" win against NW:
1. NW had a bye-week last week and essentially game planned for this game for 2 weeks
2. This was the biggest home game in NW's history and they were giving it their all
3. Braxton played like horse crap and the Buckeyes still won. I won't fault him for the INT because that was more of the offensive line but the two fumbles and the bad overthrow to Fields in the end zone - that can't happen!
4. The spot on NW's 4th quarter QB sneak on 4th-and-inches - when you fumble the snap and then run in a pile of players, it's a crapshoot where the officials spot the ball. NW wasn't jobbed or screwed - it was a tough call to make regardless. If you want to win, don't leave the game in the hands of the officials. Personally I don't think he made it because he turned his back to the pile.
5. Ohio State should have gotten their timeout back in the 2nd half that they used when they thought they had a 4 and inches to the goal line. If the officials would have properly reviewed the play or gotten the call right, Ohio State would never have needed a time out.

Seattle Linga's picture

Good last point JMO and if you need more proof........ their QB was down once he touched the ball on the fumbled snap b/c his knee was down.  

buckeyes33's picture

Sure the game was ugly but how awesome was it to ride Hyde to victory? The kid has a clear passion for the game and great move by coaches to use that against him during the "slapgate" self imposed suspension. The kid's clearly hungry let him eat. I hope him much success the rest of the season and beyond! Go Bucks!
"You can never pay back, but you can always pay forward." - Woody Hayes

Denny's picture

Miller may have seemed hesitant on the run, but he did much better as the game progressed. Used the release pass to Hyde a lot. O line did a great job in pass protection. 

Taquitos.

MN Buckeye's picture

This was a game where we were fighting not just the other team but also ourselves. Momentum was a huge challenge last night. But I think this will be great experience for the MI game.

TennesseeBuckeye's picture

B Miller started out on fire 1st series, and then over throwing receivers and a few TO's, Urban had Kenny G warm up and Braxton, seemed to wake up. The coaches also seemed to wake in handing the ball to Hyde. I was expecting more of a passing game with Hall, but he didn't dress. Hyde made some key catches as well. I think the coaches game plan was thrown for a loop. I could be wrong. Northwestern is a very good team, they were certainly emotionally charged, Braxton still not a 100% probably more mental than anything else. I think he also got better at running as the game went on so hopefully he's not as concerned about making cuts anymore. My brother asked me over to watch the game, got there and he gave his kid his big TV, so I watched it on a 21' screen. The D got to the QB in ways they haven't in a long time. Wow, what a game!
The bummer is we're off this week, but good timing to give these guys some much need and deserved rest.
Go Bucks!

I may not be able to outsmart too many people, but I can outwork 'em.
Woody Hayes

D-Day0043's picture

If everyone else is accountable for fumbling the ball then Miller needs to be held accountable as well. He has been putting the ball on the ground with regularity. 

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

GV9's picture

When Miller ran up the middle toward the goal line I literally yelled "Hold On!" three times before he fumbled.  

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Wet field, slick ball, soft middle of NW D line, most runs right up NW's gut = lots of Carlos and Brax keepers on Zone Read last night. I wouldn't read anything more into it than that. This O is still a Ferrari, not a Hummer..........

GV9's picture

Hyde was a BEAST and saved the game, but that shouldn't be surprising because he saved multiple games last year too.  RBs like Hyde are a rare breed and he WILL be playing on Sundays in the future, imo.  

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Just saw that ... gasp ... MARK MAY gave one of his two "helmet stickers of the week" to Carlos Hyde!  I'm stunned.  I've got to hand it to him, he rose above his media persona and gave a well deserved shout out to Carlos, so a thumbs up to May.  Thumbs down to Brian Bennett, who insinuated that the Wildcats lost due to officiating, opining in part that "The Wildcats got no benefit of the doubt on a controversial spot on the field or after a review", referring to Nothwestern's 4th-and-one play with less than three minutes left.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

That Dontre Wilson had none of them was a surprise.

^^^ This  ^^^
Can't say I would have been shocked if he could have ripped off one or two big runs with the holes our offensive line was creating all night...and on that note, our WR's are probably the best blocking group of WR's in the country that I have seen so far...

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.