Get Ready for Plenty of El Guapo Down the Stretch

By Kyle Rowland on October 8, 2013 at 9:15a
The legend of El Guapo is a mighty one.

Margin of victory has become absurdly important to pollsters, to the point that a defensive touchdown on a desperation hook and ladder could have a major impact on the final BCS standings. What’s seen in the box score can be deceiving, which is why Ohio State’s 40-30 win at Northwestern was much closer than the final score indicated.

Other numbers in the box score that don’t tell the whole story are Carlos Hyde’s 168 rushing yards, 38 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He was even better than what his stats said. Hyde amassed 15 first downs, rushed for 112 second-half yards – 53 in the fourth quarter – and scored all three of his touchdowns after halftime.

Long grass and a wet, muddy field were irrelevant. Put simply, the Buckeyes are undefeated because of Hyde.

On a night when Braxton Miller made several critical mistakes and the defense continually had breakdowns in the secondary, Hyde became the answer to remaining unbeaten.

“When I’m out there I cherish every moment,” he said. “I’m excited and I’m loving every moment of it. I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been in my career and more thankful.”

Before the season, Dontre Wilson was all the rage on offense. Jalin Marshall, Jordan Hall and Philly Brown were other potential playmakers who became fan favorites. The salivating for Wilson reached a crescendo at Big Ten media day when his teammates raved and Meyer put a muzzle on the hype simultaneously.

J Leman gets it.
The answer is @El_Guapo34. It's always @El_Guapo34.

Wilson, Hall and Brown are fine players. Hall’s run for career highs twice this season and scored eight touchdown, while Brown had a career-high 126 yards receiving on the same night Hyde befuddled Northwestern. Marshall, much to the chagrin of Buckeye Nation, hasn’t played after suffering a concussion in fall camp. Head coach Urban Meyer said his time is coming, though.

But will he be needed? Suddenly, in an up-tempo offense that has a dynamic dual-threat quarterback and covets playmaking receivers, it’s the power running back who’s become the biggest weapon.

In the spring, Hyde reflected on his initial thoughts to Meyer’s hiring. “I was like, I don’t see no big dude running around, except for Tim Tebow. And he’s the quarterback. I don’t play quarterback.”

Clearly, that didn’t matter.

Everyone knows about Hyde’s troubles over the summer, and he laid it all out there following Saturday night’s victory. For more than a minute, Hyde had trouble speaking when discussing the “mistake” he made. There was remorse and humility in the tears and words. But it doesn’t change the fact he put himself in a bad situation on that July night.

Now, he’s putting Ohio State in line to win a Big Ten championship. During Hyde’s three-game suspension, Hall solidified his hold on the starting running back job, even after Hyde rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Hall was one of the top rushers in the country and the Big Ten’s leading scorer in the first four games. But he received just one carry against Wisconsin before sitting out the Northwestern game with a knee injury.

Offensive coordinator Tom Herman said he fell back into old habits with his play-calling against the Badgers. It’s hard to blame him, though, when you consider Miller and Hyde almost singlehandedly engineered the offense’s 12-0 season. That locomotive appears well oiled once again.

“[Hyde] is the horse right now, and I think he’s a great player,” Meyer said. “It shows you how much I trust the kid to be able to do that.”

The No. 4 team in the country has won 18 consecutive games and its gameplan is back to the basics. And all indications are it’s the path of least resistance. Conference teams attempted to slow Miller and Hyde in 2012 and failed. A year later, the Buckeyes’ offense has improved to 20th nationally, while the run game ranks 12th.

In the third quarter Saturday, it became clear Ohio State needed and wanted to feed the ball to Hyde. However, the Wildcats had no answer. Hyde carried the ball 26 times, averaging 6.5 yards. Marcus Hall and Jack Mewhort continually punished the Northwestern defensive line. Miller was effective running, too, averaging four yards on 17 carries. On the Buckeyes’ game-winning drive, the Wildcat D-line looked like a worn down, defeated unit. A 240-pound wrecking ball had left its mark.

“I think I did wear them out. I’m built for this. I’m built to carry it that much.”

“I think I did wear them out,” Hyde said. “I’m built for this. I’m built to carry it that much. Coach said he was going to ride me, and he did. When a coach tells you that, you get excited.”

Said Philly Brown: “He's a beast. We’re so grateful to have him back.”

The old hat hasn’t let Ohio State down this season, but the other playmakers remain a part of the offense. A full complement of pieces – running backs, wide receivers and tight ends – turn the Buckeyes from good to elite.

“This is the Carlos Hyde Game,” said Meyer, in the wee hours of Sunday morning in the bowels of Ryan Field.

Might it also be the Carlos Hyde Season?


Comments Show All Comments

niblick's picture

34 is a beast, and for as much as everyone wants to see all the younger kids get their touches, he is our most reliable and powerful weapon without a doubt.

Boxley's picture

Without Hyde we lose on Saturday, and Hyde cannot be the answer the rest of the season.
Brax was bad.....regressed to last years type of player. That cannot continue. The bye week is a blessing for them to get their act together on the offense.
D Now we have 8 new starters of the 11 on D. There is going to be a learning curve. The D rose up in the second half and performed very well on all but one play. How many penalties were there on the D Saturday? One? Much better than the wisky game when we had I believe 4-6.

"...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

Jugdish's picture

That is what I saw of Braxton too. He seemed to revert back to basic instincts of the way he used to play. Braxton used the off season to improve himself as a passer with great mechanics. He seemed to forgo all that knowledge and go back to old habits. I hope Braxton and Herman use the bye week to work on those mechanics that will be needed for the rest of the year. We need Braxton's arm in order to put the points on the board that make us look really good to the voters.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

avail31678's picture

Man, I think Brax looked really good in the second half.  He made the correct reads on the option multimple times, he checked down multiple receivers, and instead of running threw it out to Hyde on the flanks twice for first downs.  He made the heady play where instead of scrambling for 3 yards and a sure first down he found the receiver for a 38 yard gain. 
I see this "surge of Hyde" to be the beginning of a truly balanced offense.  They have to respect the run, and Braxton, despite his bad first half, is truly capable of throwing the ball. 
How did we get form the Wisconsin game where Braxton was amazing and dispelled any chance of a QB controversy, to Hyde being our only hope?

darbnurb's picture

Brax was bad.....regressed to last years type of player. That cannot continue

Wasn't this player 5th in Heisman voting last year?

OSUStu's picture

Hyde has obviously been able to successfully take all of his emotion generated by his suspension and channel it into pure, adulterated bad-assery.  Feel the pain B1G...feel the pain.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

theDuke's picture

didn't think about it at the time, but it seemed like we ran a lot of plays through the right side of the line. This is good because we know the left side will always be there but having Mewhort, Decker and Hall punishing blockers down hill will only help stretch the field for our running game. 


southbay's picture

Remember all the consternation about right tackle...not sure exactly how well Decker is grading out but there does not seem to be a problem now, I think he is going to be very good if not outstanding, in due time.

Young_Turk's picture

This is true.  I was (and am) critical of the results of that first game, but I'll very happily give credit where due that Decker has really justified Meyer's faith in him.  Props all around.


Scarlet_Buckeye's picture

Decker is still clearly the "weak link" of a very strong O-line.

southbay's picture

Does it seem to anyone else that Hyde has added some moves that he didn't have last year, maybe while he was on the practice team?  He seems more elusive, and as strong as ever.
I don't remember him catching many passes last year, and maybe that is why he was wide open against NU.  Looked very Byars-like when Braxton started hitting him.  That will give opposing defenses a lot more to think about, maybe help our receivers?

saevel25's picture

I have 50/50 with Braxton. I don't he regressed, because last year instead of dropping the ball off to Hyde on an outlet pass, or not throwing the short out routes, he would have taken off. He's shown some maturity in going to his 3rd and 4th reads, and taking what the defense given him.
I do think he needs to try to attack the middle of the field more, some more crossing routes. But, compared to last year, those few drop off passes to Hyde that gave us first downs were huge. Last year he would have tried to scramble. Also knowing were he was and making a throw for 15 yards instead of taking the 1 yard 1st down. Just to show his mentality is always down field now.
I think Northwestern threw Braxton into an uncomfortable place taking away his deep threat. He was use to hitting a few of those per game, and it bothered him. he will get better, but he needs to take care of the rock first and foremost.

D. Anthony's picture

With all the weapons and talent we have I'd hate not to not start using the others more. It shouldn't just be Braxton and Hyde when we feel threatened.

D. Anthony

Breakawayspeed's picture

Nerdwestern was taking away our wide-outs and Braxton was off passing-wise.  They could not stop Hyde.  What else would you do in that situation?
There is an old offensive play-calling axiom,   " Keep doing what is successful until their defense can stop it" .  They couldn't stop it so we kept running him.

stantmann's picture

@breakawayspeed: Running a reverse seemed like a good option the last two games, but it was nowhere to be found in either game.

bigbill992001's picture

Somewhere, Tress is smiling and loving it.   He must be drooling over Johnston, too.

Hovenaut's picture

Ohio State has a running back they know they can rely on.

That's proven to be beneficial in the past.

I don't need to see Braxton perform like last year. I hope he settles in down the stretch and leads an effective pass attack/balanced scheme, but this offense is still predicated on the power run. There's an excellent running back leading the charge.

I would like to see better ball distribution down the stretch. There's talent being wasted when the football is solely carried by Brax, Hyde or Philly Brown. I hope the staff opens up and trusts some of the other skill guys a bit.

Breakawayspeed's picture

Ball distribution? I would rather they do what they do that's going to win the game down the stretch.  The outcome was greatly in doubt in the 4th quarter. I don't think that's the time to "share" carries.  Go with what works.  Go with what wins.

Killer nuts's picture

I wonder if Hyde's success will cause Urban to adjust the type of running back he recruits. Obviously he'll continue to love the smaller quicker backs but I wonder if every couple years he'll go after a power back like Hyde to ensure he's got a short yardage and clock bleeding back to lean on

Larryp713's picture

El Guapo reminds me of Eddie George. Very tough runner and he is running with a purpose right now. It makes you wonder how that July night has changed him. I think he was going to have a very good year without that, but he was truly chastened by his actions that night, and has come through humble and hungry. I hate that he had to go through that, but as a fan, I am proud of how he handled it and hope he stays hungry. 




I agree with you Larryp713, he has changed. But he has always been emotional, remember how he responded when he didn’t feel that he was getting enough carries two years ago "Guess I'm not good enough. Take myself elsewhere." He retracted that post shortly after but it goes to show how he is. I’m sure two years later that he is glad that he stayed. It was great to see how emotional Hyde was after the NW game (in a good way) tearing up and all. He is emotional and now he is hungry and wants to prove what he can do… run over and face plant anything opposing him.

"Woody is a God-fearing man. It's good to know that he's afraid of somebody." --Archie Griffin

The Butler's picture

El Guapo hit the hole like it was his job! OK, I know, it is his job, but he was quick into the hole and quick to get out of it...and the second level defenders were not prepared for what he was laying down. 

I've trained Canaries in the sport of falconry.


Buckeye06's picture

Braxton has regressed one week after throwing for 4 TD passes against a Wisky D that's given up....4 TD passes all year? 
He had an awful first half, and no one will deny that.  He made some clutch plays in the 4th quarter as well with the game on the line.  Hyde was and is the workhorse, but some of Hyde's yards are attributable to Miller and what he makes a defense think about before the snap and in the first second of every play.  If the DE crashes and Hyde never gets the ball, Miller is taking it to the house potentially (he's been bad on that read this year thus far)
I don't mind riding a 240 lb haus to a title game; Bama does it every year

hit_the_couch's picture

I hope he stays healthy; he did a lot of work against NU and looked like he was hurting. Glad the sched isn't too bad the rest of the way and have 2 bye weeks. Those young men could probably use some rest.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

jthiel09's picture

Brax did revert back to his old habits for most of the game, but that 4th quarter he looked like the QB we've been waiting for him to become in a big game. Early turnovers aside, he finished strong. El Guapo saved us in that game, no one can deny that, but this BYE week couldn't have come at a better time to give our guys a chance to sit down with our coaches, look back over the first half of the season and work on things that will get us to the B1G title game undefeated and knocking on the door of a National Championship bid.


allinosu's picture

It's not so hard for me to blame tom herman for falling into old habits. That is what our last oc did. He needs kicked out of his so called comfort zone he admits falling into after the first drive of every game. He determines who plays on offense and who doesn't. They brag about all the weapons and they watch from the sideline. What about kenny g earning playing time. Or dontre. Is he afraid they might fumble deep in our territory or at the goal line. The next few games will be closer then then they should because we won't play to our potential. We are a good football team with great players. I'm convinces kenny g won't see the field again unless brax is hurt. Hall will only be little in relief.We believe herman is great because we are told how lucky we are to have him. He is good but certainly not great. The better our defense gets and they will, the less chances are taken on offense. GO BUCKS 

BoFuquel's picture

Low and slow keep the O on the field and the D off. WIN WIN. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

rkylet83's picture

The new Heisman pose!  Defender left flailing on the ground sold separately!

45has2's picture

Not staged nor backwards ala Dizzy Howard.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

#hydesman trophy....

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

bigbill992001's picture

Hahaha, I like it.   Where do I order one of those?

geoffrsc's picture

I've been wanting to see more El Guapo for the last year and a half.  While it's fun to watch video-game-type players like Brax and Dontre run the ball, for me there's nothing like watching Carlos and our O-line impose their will on another team.
The second half of the NW game, the final minutes of Mich game last year, I love that kind of football and Carlos is the perfect back for it.

pig4skin's picture

I remember reading good things about big Carlos when he was a freshman.  I'm a bit surprised that he hasn't broken a few long runs with his 4.5 speed. Imagine how those would translate to his already impressive average per carry (many of those yards coming after the initial contact). Imagine how more effective he would be if the play calling was not predictable, that is, if we truly used a more mixed plays utilizing all out skilled players to keep the defense off balance.

As much as I like Urban, his coaching left a lot to be desired in the Wisconsin game. W had a game plan to shut down Miller, thereby 70% of the offense, by assignment defensive personnel on him throughout the game. OSU should have made them p

buckeyedude's picture

I'm glad the rest of the Buckeye fanbase has finally seen what I saw early on with Carlos. The dude is a great blocker as well as runner. He's saved Braxton's butt many times.
He deserves every bit of recognition he is getting.