Buckeye Leaves: Northwestern

Ohio State kept its unbeaten run under Urban Meyer alive with a thrilling win at No. 16 Northwestern. But which OSU players stood out? We pick our best with this week's Buckeye Leaves.

Here are our picks for the Ohio State players deserving recognition after the win vs. Northwestern. Give us your vote on the Ask The Insiders message board.

Ben Axelrod: One hundred and sixty-eight yards and three touchdowns. Not bad for a player who at one point this summer was unofficially kicked off of the team by Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes needed all that they could get from Carlos Hyde in their 40-30 win over Northwestern, and the senior running back led his team to victory in just his third game back from a three-game suspension to start the season. Arguably OSU's best offensive player in the second half of 2012, Hyde showed the brute running force that made him a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2012 and has undoubtedly regained his role as one of the Buckeyes' key players.

Pat Brennan: It's hard to consider any player other than Carlos Hyde, but I'm going to mix it up and say Bradley Roby. Roby deserves his share of the blame for Ohio State's defensive effort against Northwestern, which was simply disappointing at times. However, two key plays made by Roby in the Buckeyes' classic win against the Wildcats make him a deserving recipient of my Buckeye Leaf.

The first of Roby's monumental plays occurred when he gobbled up a Northwestern punt, blocking the kick and scooping up the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The score put OSU up, 10-7. Perhaps the biggest play of the game came when Roby chased down a Northwestern receiver that appeared to be bound for the end zone in the fourth quarter.

Roby might be a long way from the form we expect from him, but these two plays directly assisted in extending the Buckeyes' nation-long winning streak to 18 games.

Ryan Ginn: Win or lose, this Buckeye Leaf was only going to go to one person. Senior running back Carlos Hyde ran the ball 26 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns, and with each run he carried Ohio State closer to the possibility of another unbeaten regular season. With another four catches for 38 yards, both career-best totals, Hyde showed he could do it all for the Buckeyes when they needed it most. All three of his scores came with Ohio State trailing, and the last two restored the lead for the team that extended the longest active winning streak in the country.

Matthew Hager: It has to be Carlos Hyde. The game was like a heavyweight bout, and Hyde provided the knockout. Ohio State looked well on its way to a loss before Hyde took over. When a player rushes for 168 yards and three crucial second-half touchdowns, he's going to get my vote.

Jeff Svoboda: It's hard to go with anyone else but Carlos Hyde. The stats were impressive, but they didn't even really come close to telling the story of how important the performance out of the senior was. Hyde simply put the Buckeyes on his back and willed the team to a win, going around and through Northwestern tacklers throughout the entire second half. Ohio State's offense simply couldn't be stopped after the half when Hyde was running with the attitude he was running with, so he is a worthy choice for this week's honor.

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