Carlos Hyde, Not Braxton Miller, the Key to Victory for Ohio State Buckeyes

By Brian Skinnell

When the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl this coming Friday night in Miami, Florida, it’ll be a battle of two of the most high powered offenses in college football. As high-flying as these two offenses may be, the key to victory for the Buckeyes rests on the powerful legs of running back Carlos Hyde.

Nearly all season long, Hyde has been a workhorse for Urban Meyer and Ohio State. When I say nearly, I mean that he missed the first three games of the season yet has still had the best year of his career. He’s rushed for 1,408 yards and 14 touchdowns this year while averaging 7.7 yards per carry. Eight times Hyde has rushed for more than 100 yards in a single game including two games with over 200 yards.

When the Buckeyes take the field on Friday night they’ll be going against a Tigers defense that gives up an average of 152.58 yards rushing per game (53rd in the FBS). For Ohio State, they rank third in the FBS in with an average of 317.54 yards rushing per game as a team and an FBS-best 7.03 yards per carry as a unit. Hyde himself ranks fifth in the FBS with 140.8 yards per game.

Another reason why Hyde will be the key to victory is the mantra: “Your best defense is a good offense.” The Buckeyes will be taking on a very talented Clemson offense that boasts Tajh Boyd at quarterback, Sammy Watkins at receiver and Roderick McDowell at running back. Clemson averages just over 500 yards of offense per game, and the Buckeyes give up an average of 362.2 yards per game.

Against quality offenses like Michigan State and Michigan, the Buckeyes’ defense struggled. Against an even better offense in Clemson, you have to believe they’ll struggle again. So keeping the football on the ground with Carlos Hyde will move the ball and also kill the clock to keep Clemson’s offense on the sideline.

The Buckeyes will certainly be in for a good fight when they go toe-to-toe with the Tigers in Sun Life Stadium. Giving the Tigers a steady dose of Carlos Hyde will help them deliver the knock-out blow they need late in the game to take home the win.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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