Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde is nicknamed “El Guapo,” but he should be called “El Tanque” for the amount of defenders he plows through every Saturday. With his 114 yards against Indiana last week, Hyde became the first Buckeye back to top 1,000 yards in a season since Chris Wells in 2008.
Granted, Hyde finished with 970 yards last year and most likely would have reached the 1,000 yard plateau if the Buckeyes were bowl eligible. Quarterback Braxton Miller also carried a lot of the load early in 2012 which took away some opportunities for Hyde.
Rightfully, the tilt this year has shifted back to Hyde, and he is taking full advantage.
Running backs are hallowed souls in the Buckeye program. Pounding the ball down the field is etched in its DNA. The Mt. Rushmore includes Les Horvath, Vic Janowicz, Howard Cassady, Archie Griffin and Eddie George who all won the Heisman Trophy wearing the beloved Scarlet and Gray. On their heels were Jim Otis, Tim Spencer, Keith Byars and Chris Wells. Does Hyde belong in this group?
Hyde’s statistics already compare favorably. Over his 35 games played, Hyde is averaging 79.31 yards per game, 6.05 yards per carry, and one touchdown per game.
This season he’s averaging 133 yards per game, 7.71 yards per attempt and 1.6 touchdowns per game. For the sake of argument, if you add these averages to his remaining games, Hyde will finish his career with 3,101 yards, 40 touchdowns and 6.05 yards per carry.
Here’s how Hyde compares to the elite running backs:
*Statistics taken from Ohio State University Athletics Website
Surpassing Griffin and George would be nearly impossible. Beyond being first and second in both career yards and 100 yard games, they are just likeable guys. They are adored by fans. Byars, Spencer and Wells are all within reach though.
Byars’ career was cut short by a foot injury or he may be at the top of the list for his accomplishments on the field. Spencer’s performances in victories against Michigan in 1981 and 1982 will keep him near the top of every fan’s list, but he never led Ohio State to a Rose Bowl so the luster is not quite as bright.
If not for an injury in his junior season and leaving for the NFL a year early, Wells may have had a shot at beating Griffin’s 5,589 rushing yards. Fans would have enjoyed that ride. Regardless, he is No. 4 all-time with 3,382 rushing yards.
Even though Byars, Spencer and Wells were all stellar, Hyde will probably catch them if he continues playing like he has over the last six weeks. Like most great backs, Hyde has a fifth gear that kicks in late in the game. When a play is needed, Hyde is the man to make it.
Amazingly, Hyde is not getting much publicity despite being the featured weapon in an offense that ranks No. 3 nationally in scoring averaging 48.7 points per game and No. 5 nationally in rushing averaging 314.7 yards per game. Buckeye fans may groan at the lack of respect he is getting, but staying out of the limelight is a good thing.
While the winning streak, coach Urban Meyer, the schedule and Miller are making the headlines, Hyde continues to do what he does best, rack up yards and touchdowns. He’s running with a purpose and making up for having to sit out the first three games due to a suspension. The low profile suits him well.
Hyde’s career has already been incredible, but he can earn a special distinction if he can lead the Buckeyes to three more wins. If he does it, Hyde will cement his place among the best backs in Ohio State history.