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MADISON, Wis. -- It didnʼt take more than one minute into his postgame press conference for Urban Meyer to admit that he may have made a mistake during Ohio Stateʼs Big Ten battle against Wisconsin on Saturday.
The Buckeyes had just managed to escape Madison with a 21-14 overtime win over the Badgers, but the first-year OSU coach thought that his teamʼs latest victory may not have even needed to happen in an extra period, had he and his coaching staff just called a few more plays for Carlos Hyde in regulation.
"I think we need to give him the ball a little bit more," Meyer said of Ohio Stateʼs junior running back.
Having received just two rushing attempts in the first quarter, and two total in the entire first half, Hyde didnʼt disagree with his head coachʼs assessment.
"I just felt like if they would have just gave me the ball more, I just felt like I couldʼve got the momentum going," Hyde said. "If they wouldʼve gave me the ball more, I felt like I couldʼve sparked the offense."
After gaining 34 yards in the first half on a 6.8 yards per carry average, Hydeʼs workload increased some in the second half, where he got eight more chances to run the rock, where he gained 44 additional yards on the ground. With the Wisconsin defense containing Braxton Miller to a 2.1 yard per carry average, Hyde remained in his coachesʼ ears, letting them know that he could help OSUʼs star quarterback shoulder the load.
"I was trying to tell my coach, ʻCome on. Letʼs run some power or something. Letʼs just get going,ʼ" Hyde recalled. "Iʼm like, ʻLet me get this going, get this spark going for this offense so we can really start flowing.ʼ"
Following a fourth quarter in which the Buckeyesʼ only gained one first down- an 18- yard Hyde rush- it didnʼt take long for the OSU coaches to call on Hydeʼs number in overtime. With the Badgersʼ focus on Miller, who had accumulated 21 carries up to that point, the Buckeyes called for Hydeʼs first sweep play of the day, with the Florida native taking the ball 11 yards up the Ohio State sideline.
"I was like, ʻHere we go, letʼs see how this play works,ʼ" Hyde said of his first overtime carry. "Boom, 10 yards, right off the bat."
Two plays later, Hyde capped off the four-play series with a 2-yard touchdown run, which was ultimately the gameʼs deciding score. Entering Saturdayʼs matchup with the Badgers with 737 rushing yards to his credit, the junior back finished the contest with 87 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, leaving him 176 yards shy of becoming the Buckeyesʼ second 1,000-yard rusher this season.
Meyer explained that Hydeʼs reduced touches werenʼt a result of a lack of production from the Big Tenʼs second-leading touchdown scorer, but was rather a case of the OSU offensive line not playing as well as it has in recent games.
"Usually, we are a team that when we block someone, we have a chance to win," Meyer said. "I donʼt feel like we blocked them like we have in the past and we have to get back to that."
For a player who expressed interest in transferring after receiving inconsistent playing time in 2011, Hyde showed plenty of maturity on Saturday, after making the most of the least amount of carries that heʼs received since the Buckeyesʼ Sept. 29 win over Michigan State. While he may have been frustrated at the time, this yearʼs version of Hyde understood that he could only control what he could control on Saturday.
"I felt like we shouldʼve given me the ball a little bit more," Hyde admitted. "Thatʼs my coachesʼ decision, I just live with it. I just do what my coaches say."
An integral part of the OSU offense and player whoʼs appeared to receive the admiration of Meyer, Hyde appears to have earned the right to offer suggestions to his coaches during and after games. Perhaps thatʼs one of the reasons why that when told that Meyer admitted that he should have received more carries on Saturday, Hyde wasnʼt afraid to have an ʻI told you soʼ type of moment.
"Well there you go," Hyde said with a smile.
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