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Ohio State's Carlos Hyde runs for 168 yards, 3 TDs to key win

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Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde powered the Buckeyes past Northwestern on Saturday night.

Carlos Hyde was supposed to be Urban Meyer's first-ever 1,000-yard running back this season. But Hyde was suspended for the first three games of the season for an incident at a Columbus, Ohio, bar, and went into Saturday night's game at Northwestern with 126 yards in two games.

If Hyde keeps running like he did against Northwestern, he might get to 1,000 after all.

Hyde (6 feet, 242 pounds) rumbled for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries to lift the Buckeyes to the 40-30 win. Each of his TDs came in the final 19 minutes as Ohio State rallied from a 23-13 third-quarter deficit.

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Hyde is built like a fullback, but he has deceptive speed and can turn the corner; still, he is at his best rampaging between the tackles, as he showed against Northwestern. His longest run was just 17 yards, but he still averaged a brutish 6.5 yards per carry.

He rushed for 970 yards and 16 TDs last season despite missing two games with a minor knee injury. Hyde had seven games with at least 17 carries, including four with at least 22, so durability isn't an issue. His receiving ability is a concern, but his physical running style means he's going to get drafted; the question is how early he'll go.

Meyer showed Saturday night he isn't afraid to ride Hyde. Remember Jordan Hall, the guy who ran for 422 yards and eight TDs in the first four games? He had one carry last week against Wisconsin and zero against Northwestern. This is Hyde's job, unquestionably.

As well as Hyde played, though, there are big questions about the secondary, the unit that was supposed to be the strength of the defense. For the second week in a row, the defensive backs were torched. The Buckeyes missed starting strong safety Christian Bryant, who suffered a broken ankle last week and will miss the rest of the season. But cornerback Bradley Roby again looked mediocre, and while Northwestern has a solid passing attack, the Wildcats have no real standout receivers.

Northwestern threw for 343 yards and its two quarterbacks were a combined 25 of 31 (80.6 percent). Ohio State had five sacks, which actually limited the damage done to the secondary.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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