Ohio State football: Confidence runs high in ground game
Running back Carlos Hyde, on his way to a 1,000-yard season, hasn’t been tackled for a loss this year.
Ohio State players weren’t close to being alive when no mas entered the sports lexicon, but they know the feeling it represents.
Hopelessness. Helplessness. A desire to just be done with the beating.
In 1980, Sugar Ray Leonard so frustrated Roberto Duran in the rematch of their welterweight title fight that Duran supposedly — he denies it — turned to the referee and uttered those two words in Spanish, meaning, no more.
More than three decades later, Ohio State wants to create the same sense of futility in its opponents with its powerful running game.
“We like to call that no mas,” running back Carlos Hyde said. “We definitely get a good feeling. It’s pretty easy to tell when guys want no more. They don’t want to attack you no more, and the offensive line is blowing guys off the line.”
That offensive line — tackles Jack Mewhort and Taylor Decker, guards Andrew Norwell and Marcus Hall and center Corey Linsley — has built on the success it had last year.
Penn State didn’t wave the white flag and leave the field on Saturday night, but the Nittany Lions probably felt like doing so. They were powerless to stop Ohio State’s running game as Ohio State ran for a season-high 408 yards on 51 carries.
“We’re executing well in the run game, and that’s a credit to a lot of people, not just one group of guys,” offensive line coach Ed Warinner said. “But it starts there.”
The week before, Ohio State rallied to defeat Iowa, again propelled by its running game. The Buckeyes have run for at least 192 yards in every game this season. Only once, against Wisconsin, have the Buckeyes rushed for fewer than 248 yards.
It’s one thing to get beat through the air. It’s more of an attack on a defense’s collective manhood to get pounded on the ground play after play. The Buckeyes feel their running game can’t be stopped.
“Definitely,” Hyde said. “That’s how I feel. I’m pretty sure the other guys feel the same way.”
Last week against Penn State, Ohio State had six carries for at least 17 yards. Some of that is a testament to the way Buckeyes receivers have embraced blocking. The Buckeyes’ defense, in contrast, hasn’t allowed a carry longer than 17 yards all season.
Hyde is averaging 6.7 yards a carry and looks to be a good bet to become the first runner in Urban Meyer’s head coaching career to run for 1,000 yards in a season — and that’s with missing the first three games because of a suspension. Not once in 88 carries has he been tackled for a loss. Often, the holes he has been provided have been gaping.
“With all due respect to Carlos, I could have run through those holes,” Meyer, 49, said.
Purdue coach Darrell Hazell knows how much of a challenge it will be for his Boilermakers to slow Hyde. Of course, Hyde isn’t the only running threat. Quarterback Braxton Miller has gained 403 yards, which includes 46 yards in losses because of sacks. Subtract that, and Miller is averaging 5.8 yards a carry.
Purdue does not figure to put up much resistance. The Boilermakers (1-6) are 10th in the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed per game (192.7) and 11th in per-carry average (4.7).
“It’s very daunting because he hits it so fast,” Hazell said of Hyde. “The linemen are doing a great job of getting up on people and just creating small seams for him. He’s doing a good job of finding those small seams. We’re going to have to do some things to close down some of those running lanes.”