Carlos Hyde, Ohio State's 6'0", 230-pound battering ram, is 53 yards away from a 1,000-yard rushing season.
It's a significant milestone for Hyde, who has never eclipsed the century mark. It's also big for Urban Meyer, who has failed to produce a 1,000-yard running back in his first 11 seasons as a head coach.
Hyde came close to hitting the 1,000-yard mark last year, but an early-season MCL injury cost him two-and-a-half games. That didn't stop him from having a terrific junior campaign as he rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns.
That outburst set the expectations high for Hyde's senior season, but his final year at the collegiate level couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. An offseason incident at a bar in Columbus, Ohio prompted Meyer to suspend his star running back for three games, putting Hyde on thin ice.
To his credit, Hyde did everything the coaching staff asked of him to earn his way back into the rotation.
Against Florida A&M, Hyde played sparingly, carrying the ball five times for 41 yards to complement a one-yard receiving touchdown. Ohio State kicked off Big Ten play against Wisconsin the following week, which sparked an incredible string of performances from Hyde.
|Carlos Hyde vs. Big Ten Competition|
His gutsy performance against Northwestern saved Ohio State's perfect season.
The Buckeyes were facing a 10-point second-half deficit, and Braxton Miller was struggling through a turnover-plagued outing. Meyer put the ball, and the game, in Hyde's hands.
He delivered with 112 second-half rushing yards and three touchdowns to lift Ohio State to a 40-30 victory.
After the game, Hyde told Brandon Castel of The-Ozone that he's playing at a different level.
“When I’m out there I cherish every moment,” Hyde said. “I’m excited and I’m loving every moment of it. I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been in my career and more thankful.”
It certainly looks like he's playing hungrier. Hyde rushed for a career-best 246 yards last Saturday against Illinois, which tied for the third-best rushing performance by a running back in school history.
"I really want to get that 1,000 yards," Hyde said. "Not just for me, but for the offensive line, just to have a 1,000-yard back, and for Coach Meyer."
With 947 yards under his belt, Hyde needs just 53 this Saturday against an Indiana defense that is surrendering an average of 251 rushing yards per game. With the way he has been playing recently, he has to like his chances.
All stats via NCAA.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.