- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Counting down the five most impressive statistical performances so far this season for Ohio State as it heads into a bye week before trying to close out a perfect season against Wisconsin and Michigan.
No. 4: Carlos Hyde
When: Oct. 6 against Nebraska
What: The backfield had spent all of training camp and then the majority of the first month of the season wrestling with injuries and trying to find some stability. That wouldn't be a problem again after the junior running back was plugged back into the starting lineup and showed no signs of lingering pain in his knee as he repeatedly gashed the Huskers on the way to 140 yards and four touchdowns that foreshadowed a scoring binge in Big Ten play.
Impact: The Buckeyes badly needed a complement in the rushing game to take the pressure off quarterback Braxton Miller, who didn't look likely to stay in one piece if he had to keep carrying the ball 23 times like he had done the week before against Michigan State. Hyde obviously wouldn't have taken 28 handoffs if he wasn't being productive with them, but his ability to break tackles and absorb some of that physical punishment while also polishing off drives in the end zone helped spark another conference win and built momentum for the spread offense.
How: Hyde has always had the ability to get the job done in the backfield thanks to the combination of his size at 232 pounds and a 40-yard dash time that has been clocked at 4.35 seconds, but it has been a change of attitude and work ethic that has produced such eye-catching results for the Buckeyes. The new offensive system hasn't hurt, either, as he has formed a dynamic combination as in the interior threat for an inside-outside tandem that has gouged defenses throughout league play.
For the season: 144 carries for 737 yards and 13 touchdowns; 7 receptions for 43 yardss and a touchdown
He said it: “He’s a load, he’s a load. He uses all 235 pounds, and I think people underestimate his speed at times. You know, when he gets into the mindset and the rhythm of anticipating where the runs and the seams are going to be, he can really become a very effective, productive back. I would assume that’s a thorn in people’s sides on defense, no doubt.” -- running backs coach Stan Drayton
5dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer