After missing Ohio State's first three games due to suspension, running back Carlos Hyde will make his season debut this Saturday against Florida A&M.
While the Buckeyes didn't need Hyde in their victories over Buffalo, San Diego State and Cal, his return gives Ohio State's running game the power it used to bulldoze its way through the 2012 regular season undefeated.
Despite Braxton Miller's incredible play last year, it was Hyde and his tough running that fueled Ohio State's offense down the stretch. The 6'0", 235-pound running back piled up 812 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in the Buckeyes' final seven games.
Ohio State has missed that toughness.
That became clear in Ohio State's season-opening victory over Buffalo. On 4th-and-1 at midfield early in the second quarter, Urban Meyer opted to go for it, only for the undersized Jordan Hall to be stuffed in the backfield.
With Hyde back, Meyer has one of college football's strongest runners to lean on in short-yardage situations.
Hyde's name doesn't appear on Ohio State's Week 4 depth chart, but Meyer has made it clear that the Buckeyes' senior running back will play against Florida A&M this Saturday:
Urban: "Carlos Hyde has been very unselfish working on the scout team, and he will play."— Austin Ward (@AWardESPN) September 17, 2013
That gives Ohio State's offense, which has averaged more than 500 yards and 44 points per game, another dynamic weapon.
That's a big concern for Ohio State's upcoming opponents, because the Buckeyes are brimming with talent.
Starting in place of Hyde, Hall has been phenomenal running the ball. The fifth-year senior has rushed for 402 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Hall has been explosive, posting four rushes of more than 25 yards.
With Hyde's return, Ohio State's backfield now has some muscle to complement Hall's big-play ability.
All stats via ESPN.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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