INDIANAPOLIS – Heading into the Big Ten Championship Game, the Michigan State Spartan defense was only allowing 64.8 yards rushing per game during the 2013 season.
The Ohio State Buckeyes ran for 273 yards against the Spartans in Saturday’s title game — more than four times as much as their season average — but ended up on the wrong side of a 34-24 decision, ending any dream they had of making a trip to Pasadena, Calif. to play for the BCS National Championship.
Despite the big rushing total, OSU senior running back Carlos Hyde felt like he could have done more on the ground, as is the case with every game.
“I always want the ball more. I always want the ball more, just (to) get that momentum going for the offense,” Hyde said after carrying the ball 18 times for 118 yards in the loss.
Hyde’s backfield mate, junior quarterback Braxton Miller, finished the night with 21 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Miller also got the call on arguably the biggest play of the season — a fourth and two from the OSU 47 — and was stuffed.
“I thought it was a great call. I felt like we had them,” Hyde said of Miller’s failed attempt to keep the drive and OSU’s undefeated season hopes alive. “A guy came off his block and made a great play right there.”
OSU coach Urban Meyer said he “wanted to put the ball in the hands” of his best player (Miller) to try and get a first down, saying it was ultimately his call.
Miller had his fair share of success rushing the ball in the second half — 11 carries for 68 yards — but as the game wore on, Hyde felt like he could have been getting whatever yardage needed for his team.
“I felt like I could have got any yardage we needed that second half,” Hyde said. “Me and the offensive line was doing a great job. I just felt like we could have ran the ball the whole game in the second half … but you can’t question the coaching calls.”
Meyer’s response was short when he was asked if in a perfect world, Hyde would have gotten more touches against the Spartans.
“Yeah,” Meyer said.
OSU punted seven times against Michigan State and Miller only threw for 101 yards on eight completions.
“There’s always a thousand different things you could have done different in games like this,” OSU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said after the loss, noting how he did not experience thoughts about giving Hyde the ball more when the outcome was decided. “So sit back and watch the film and figure out what those are and make sure those don’t happen again. But coming off the field, I didn’t feel that.”
Hyde entered Saturday night’s game with 1,290 yards on the season, tallying those in only nine games after being suspended for the first three after his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar in July. In OSU’s last three games against Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, he picked up 589 yards on the ground.
“I think we could have gotten him (the ball) a little more,” redshirt-senior center Corey Linsley said after the loss. “I thought going into this game we had a great, great plan. That number (of carries) is cool, you know whatever … they thought that was best and we just didn’t get the job done.”
The Spartans beat the Buckeyes with 17 straight unanswered points down the stretch. A lack of execution on both sides of the ball led to the end of the nation’s longest winning streak, but Hyde was brief in his response when asked about the lack of times his number was called.
“I mean, it happens,” Hyde said with a shrug of his shoulders and a glance at the floor.
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