The Birth of a Dominant Running Game

By Kyle Rowland on December 3, 2013 at 2:45p
Hyde and his line took a huge step last year in East Lansing.

You can trace back to several instances where Carlos Hyde became an Ohio State running back. In the 2011 season-opener, Hyde gained 104 total yards and averaged five yards per carry. At Nebraska that same season, he rumbled for 104 yards rushing and two touchdowns. But East Lansing is where Hyde became a household name.

It wasn’t the 49 yards rushing that impressed coaches, teammates and the viewing public. Hyde’s status grew out of three rushes for 18 yards and two crucial fourth-quarter first downs in September 2012 at Spartan Stadium.

“Everything changed last year for us. Now everything is one the line for us,” senior center Corey Linsley said about the Buckeyes’ 17-16 victory over Michigan State last season.

Ohio State was 4-0 at the time, but just went though an unimpressive stretch in the non-conference schedule. Close wins over Central Florida, Cal and UAB did not leave voters – or much of anyone – spellbound. That’s why the Buckeyes found themselves ranked No. 14. The looming conflict with the Spartans would reveal much about Ohio State.

So, with 4 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the game, the Buckeyes clung to a one-point lead. Michigan State had two timeouts left, which meant it would take three first downs for Ohio State to end the game. It got all three – two via Hyde – and never attempted a pass.

Six plays, 38 yards rushing. Ohio State 17, Michigan State 16. The Ohio State Buckeyes, Carlos Hyde and the offensive line were introduced to college football.

“The offensive line took over the game,” said Linsley, who, along with Jack Mewhort and Andrew Norwell, was named first-team All-Big Ten on Monday. “We ran off the final four minutes of the clock. That’s definitely been a point of pride. We’re going to have to do that again this year.”

Except it will take four quarters, not four minutes. But chances are they’ll be successful with Hyde carrying the load.

“The offensive line took over the game. We ran off the final four minutes of the clock.”

Since Sept. 29, 2012, Ohio State has lost zero games. Meanwhile, Hyde has tallied 11 100-yard rushing games and two 200-yard performances. In the past 16 games, he’s recorded 2,102 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns. Hyde’s per-game average during that span is 131 yards. 

“I have the best offensive line in the country,” Hyde said. “I’m thankful. That helps me showcase my talent.”

Perhaps it’s another Ohio State running back who truly changed the course of the Buckeyes. Butler By’not’e played at Ohio State from 1990-93, gaining 1,742 yards from scrimmage and scoring 11 touchdowns. He’s most well known for his speed as a kick returner. By’not’e was part of the track team at Ohio State and helped set an NCAA record in the 4x400.

But last September, he delivered a message to the Buckeyes on choice, sacrifice and time (CST). Then came 11:22 p.m. inside a hotel ballroom in East Lansing. Meyer gave an impassioned speech complete with a toast of “championship water.” He challenged any doubter in the room to take a sip of the beverage and from that point forward buy in and give everything they could to themselves, their teammates and the football program.

Some seven hours later, Hyde ran out the clock on Michigan State and a wild celebration erupted on the Spartan Stadium turf.

“We started a tradition that day that will forever be part of Ohio State football history, because it was part of one of the undefeated teams,” Meyer said. “That speech wouldn’t have been very good if the kids didn’t buy in.”

A switch was flipped that day and the light is still illuminated in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. On Saturday, Ohio State will try and transport the glow to Indianapolis. The Buckeyes’ stacked deck begins with Hyde, the Big Ten’s running back of the year.

While his numbers going back to the 2012 Michigan State game are impressive, Hyde’s nine-game totals in 2013 are even more attractive – 1,290 yards rushing, 143 yards per game, eight yard per carry and 14 touchdowns. It’s a combination of Hyde’s powerful running style and the O-line’s authoritative blocking.

Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough said physicality is a must when combatting Hyde. Cornerback Darqueze Dennard said he won’t shy away from contact. The Spartans allow fewer than 65 yards on the ground per game.

But all Hyde may need is 18 fourth-quarter yards to put Ohio State in the national championship game.

“Games like these,” Dennard said, “are what everyone remembers.”


Comments Show All Comments

ATXbucknut's picture

Good article. The OL and RB are reasons #1A and 1B that OSU is undefeated (with 1C being our QBs).
I am hoping they can get us to 35 points, which should be enough to propel us into the NCG.

Grande Gustavo's picture

I knew it was some a high number because I can't remember The Buckeyes ever losing a high scoring shootout (or until a few years ago, even playing in very many high scoring shootouts), but this is absolutely absurd.  And I mean that in the best way possible.

The answer may not be at the bottom of a bottle, but it never hurts to check. 

dubjayfootball90's picture


You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Doc's picture

I'm hoping El Guapo can shatter MSU's 64 yard average 3 times over.  This is going to be a 4 quarter knock down drag out street fight.  Strap 'em on tight Bucks!

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

dwcbuckeye's picture

I have respect for their D, but am optimistic that the bucks will show it is somewhat over-rated.  Nebraska's Abdullah rushed for 123 yards on 23 carries (5.6ypc).  They have not played another team with a decent runner as they did not play Wisconsin this year.  Wouldn't surprise me at all if Hyde gets another 200 yards.  

brband64's picture

A flip was switched that day...

I did what you see there.

"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

OSUBias's picture

A flip was switched and my mind was blown.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

Hovenaut's picture

A nice look back at UFM's speech prior to last year's game. This was an excellent part of "Fourth and Long" by John Bacon, and his look into Ohio State as things under Urban were still getting settled.
Great read, great look at not only OSU (with help from Mr. Rowland, as the author credits), but the Northwestern, M...igan and Penn State programs during the tumultuous 2012 season.
It's no surprise to me that once the players bought in, it was the efforts of the offensive line and Mr. Hyde that have, ahem, carried this team to this point.

dubjayfootball90's picture

This. Will. Be. Epic.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

seafus26's picture

"Not at the table, Carlos."
Go Bucks and michigan STILL sucks!

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

nvbuckeye's picture

Another great article about OSU's running game.  While I agree that Carlos Hyde and the OL deserve most of the credit for Hyde's awesome year, the OL only gets him to the second level.  The down field blocking by the receivers gets Hyde open on the 15 - 20 yard runs and the long TD runs.  It must be a phenomenal feeling to get past the DL and know you have alot more yards to go when Corey Brown, Devin Smith, Evan Spencer and other guys are out there planting the LBs and DBs in your way.  As someone above said, "strap on tight guys" it will be a tough, Big Ten type game on Saturday night.  GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!!!

nm_buck's picture

I thought I was amped up for the scUM game....

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I'll take two championship waters on the rocks, please.

MN Buckeye's picture

Now on tap in the Premium Lounge . . . 

ABrown07's picture


I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people.

-Woody Hayes