COLUMBUS – Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde thinks that his 230-pound frame sometimes makes people underestimate his speed.
But one thing that is not underappreciated is Hyde’s value to the Buckeyes. Inside and outside the football program, that is recognized.
“He can throw us over his shoulder and carry us to victory,” wide receiver Corey Brown said earlier this week. “Nobody wants to tackle him in space – a 240-pound running back who is probably the fourth or fifth-fastest guy on the team.”
Hyde has 590 yards rushing in five games and has gone for 147 yards, 149 yards and 168 yards in OSU’s last three games. Over the last two seasons in the 12 games in which he has started and been healthy, he is averaging 120 yards a game.
Hyde has carried the ball 88 times this season and has not been tackled for a loss yet. Going back to last season, Hyde has rushed 116 times in a row without being tackled in the backfield.
That comes from a combination of Hyde and the offensive line, a fact he is quick to point out.
He said he can see defenses being worn down by that combination. “We like to call it ‘No mas,’ ” he said, referring to what Roberto Duran said when he quit during a fight against Sugar Ray Leonard in the 1980s.
“It’s pretty easy to tell when guys don’t want any more. They don’t want to tackle you anymore. Our offensive line is just blowing guys off the ball,” he said.
Hyde’s season didn’t get off to a good start when he was suspended for the first three games after an incident in a Columbus night club. A woman who said Hyde had struck her later refused to press charges.
“I feel kind of fresh, I had those three games off,” Hyde said. “I feel like I’m just starting to get going. These past few games I’ve played big. I feel like this is a start.”
Hyde says this season feels like a throwback to his senior season of football in high school in Naples, Fla.
He gained 1,653 yards that season. Last year as a junior, he rushed for 970 yards, a number he said was identical to his rushing numbers as a junior in high school.
“Right now kind of reminds me of when I was a senior in high school. My senior year I just came out on another level. I kind of feel like it’s all happening again. It’s pretty cool to see it happening at another level,” he said.
He needs to average only 68 yards a game the rest of the season to become the first running back to be a 1,000-yard rusher for OSU coach Urban Meyer.
While Hyde has a reputation for punishing contact, he says he doesn’t go looking for it.
“I don’t mind the contact but I definitely like to out-sprint somebody to the end zone. People probably underestimate my speed. They think I don’t have it because they see me just running between the tackles. I’m waiting for that one big run, 70 yards maybe, to show it off,” Hyde said.
“I think I’m doing a good job of showing scouts who come to our games that I can be a good back for another level,” he said.