The Ohio State Buckeyes will lose one of the most explosive components of their offense after this season.
That component is senior running back Carlos Hyde, who played his last game in Ohio Stadium on Saturday in the Buckeyes’ win over the Indiana Hoosiers. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards this season in just eight games, giving him his first career 1,000 yard season, and also made him the first player under coach Urban Meyer to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Hyde rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns against the Hoosiers as he surpassed the 1,000 yard mark. His most impressive performance this season came just last week in the Buckeyes’ win over the Illinois Fighting Illini when he ran for 246 yards, four touchdowns, and also caught a touchdown pass. He has been very impressive this season, and it is hard to talk about the Ohio State offense without mentioning Hyde. His running ability is a lot of what made the Ohio State offense so explosive.
Another senior running back is one who has not received as much attention this season, and that is Jordan Hall. Hall has been plagued by injury for the better part of the season, though he can be impressive in his own right when he is healthy. Early in the season, he rushed for 159 yards against the Buffalo Bulls and 168 yards against the California Golden Bears, performances that have been overshadowed by Hyde’s impressive performances later in the season. Hall had two catches on Saturday, and will hopefully be able to make his presence known as he finishes out his senior season.
The loss of these two running backs begs the question of whether or not Ohio State’s running game will be hurting next season.
I wouldn’t say it will be hurting, but it may not be quite as explosive without the presence of these two, especially Hyde, in the Ohio State backfield. Meyer has some young running backs waiting in the wings that have plenty of potential.
The most impressive of those young running backs, and the one with the greatest potential, is perhaps freshman Dontre Wilson. Wilson has already been given some opportunities this season, and he never disappoints. He is known for his speed, and opposing defenses never know what to expect when he comes into the game, since Meyer has been working to make him into a better all-around player.
Keep an eye out for freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott next season as well. Like Wilson, he has been given some opportunities to prove himself this season and came through with a 162-yard, two touchdown game against the Florida A&M Rattlers. He also caught a touchdown pass in the Purdue Boilermakers game earlier this month.
Of course, you cannot forget about quarterback Braxton Miller. The mobile quarterback has always been a huge part of Ohio State’s running game, sometimes even rushing for more yards in a game than his running backs. He rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns over Hyde’s 117 rushing yards in the win over Indiana.
Miller will help keep Ohio State’s running game alive next season, and though it may not be quite as explosive without Hyde, it will still be very impressive and effective. The Buckeyes have too much rushing talent for it not to be.