Tailback Carlos Hyde had a Senior Day to remember Saturday afternoon when he passed the millennial mark with 117 yards in Ohio State's 28-0 victory over Indiana. That total moved him to 1,064 on the season, as he entered the game needing only 53 yards against the Hoosiers to reach 1,000.
"It means a lot," Hyde said, who reached the total on a second-quarter run.
Prior to the season, the odds were generally viewed as good for Hyde to reach 1,000 yards this fall. He rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior, despite missing a pair of games because of a MCL injury. Then came an off-the-field incident in a Columbus bar that led to a three-game suspension levied by Meyer. Upon his return to the field, however, Hyde has been a workhorse for the Buckeyes.
Hyde never gave up on the goal of reaching 1,000 yards, either, even when he knew he'd have three fewer games to accomplish the task.
"During the suspension, I told myself it's still possible," Hyde said. "I just had to go even harder. That's exactly how I'm playing right now.
"I have to basically, in my mind, say, ‘I have to make up for (lost) time.' That's how I play."
Hyde gave plenty of credit to his teammates when discussing his feat after the IU game.
"It starts with those guys up front," Hyde said. "When they have success, I usually have success. I give credit to those guys and to my tight ends and receivers because they do a great job of blocking."
One of those "guys up front" is fellow senior Jack Mewhort. The tackle said he and the rest of the O-line took satisfaction in Hyde reaching 1,000 yards.
"It's really cool because an offensive lineman, you don't really show up on the stat sheet," Mewhort said. "What Carlos does is kind of a reflection on us as an offensive line. Obviously, that's not to take anything away from him. He's a workhorse, he runs hard, he's got great vision. But when you're an O-lineman you kind of live vicariously through the other skill guys on offense.
"We take a lot of pride in that, and it feels good for him. It feels good for us as an offensive line to see the fruits of our labor."
It also had to be satisfying for Meyer, although he did not mention the accomplishment during his postgame press conference. During the week leading up to the game, Meyer did mention that teams have recruited against his teams using the fact that Meyer had never had a 1,000-yard rusher.
They won't be able to do that anymore.
"If someone wants to question whether we run the ball effectively, I think … we run the ball really well," Meyer said in October.
Now Meyer has his 1,000-yard man to boot.