Cody Cousino / Photo editor
At Ohio State football media day on Aug. 21, sophomore running back Carlos Hyde said somebody had to step up with last year’s senior starter Dan Herron suspended for the first five games.
With two games in the books for the Buckeyes this season, Hyde has proven to be that somebody.
In Saturday’s 27-22 win against Toledo, Hyde had 20 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns.
With OSU trailing 15-7 and facing a third-and-4 situation, Hyde broke a 36-yard run for a touchdown that vaulted the Buckeyes back into the contest.
“I felt like when I got the ball I had two options,” Hyde said of the score. “Either I could have went outside or cut it in. So, I just cut it in and I brushed past my left tackle and I wasn’t touched.”
Saturday’s start was the second of the year for the sophomore back, who carried 19 times for 93 yards against Akron. Hyde also 18 yards on the opening drive helped get the Buckeyes going early.
After Saturday’s win, first-year coach Luke Fickell reaffirmed Hyde’s starting role, saying, “Hyde is our starting running back.”
“I think he’s done a very good job at doing what we’ve asked him to do,” Fickell said. “We’re going to continue to feed him and I believe he’s only going to get stronger.”
While redshirt freshman Rod Smith had only one less carry than Hyde against in OSU’s Week 1 win, Fickell showed his confidence in Hyde by giving him 13 more carries than Smith in the Toledo game.
Hyde said he wanted to get his feet wet against Akron but wanted to make things happen against the Rockets.
“Towards the end (of the Toledo game), I was getting in a rhythm and was feeling real good,” Hyde sad. “I was feeling real good like I could put the team on my back and make it happen.”
Senior offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts, one of Hyde’s blockers, said Hyde was capable of putting the team on his back.
“He’s really stepped up,” Shugarts said. “He’s a younger guy and he’s really taken advantage of this opportunity and been making some plays.”
Hyde figures to compete for the starting running backs job once Herron and junior Jordan Hall return.
Hall, along with sophomore Corey Brown and junior defensive back Travis Howard, have been suspended for the first two games of the season for accepting benefits deemed impermissible by the NCAA.
Hall, Brown and Howard each received $200 at a charity event in Cleveland, but could be reinstated for Saturday’s game at Miami.
Herron, who sold OSU football memorabilia in exchange for improper benefits in the form of tattoos, is suspended until the Buckeyes’ Oct. 8 game at Nebraska.
“To me, I feel like the spot is still open and it’s still anybody’s,” Hyde said of the eventual competition between the backs. “Even though I’ve started two games I feel like the spot is still open for anybody, so during practice everybody’s got to compete.”