Senior running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 168 yards on 26 carriers and three touchdowns as No. 4/3 Ohio State defeated Northwestern, 40-30, in a Big Ten contest at Ryan Field in Evanston, Saturday night.
After Kain Colter scored on a 2-yard run with 13:19 left in the second quarter to put the Wildcats ahead 14-10, the Buckeyes didn’t reclaim the lead until Hyde stretched out his arm with the ball while falling on his back to break the plane of the goal line from two yards out which gave OSU a 27-23 advantage with 11:28 to play in the fourth.
Northwestern, though, still had one bullet left in the chamber as the Wildcats needed just two minutes and 19 seconds to go 80 yards in six plays capped off on a 12-yard TD pass from Trevor Siemian to Cameron Dickerson with 9:10 to go.
From there, Ohio State responded on its next possession needing eight plays to cover 81 yards as Hyde scored his third TD of the contest on a 7-yard run with 5:22 left to put the Buckeyes ahead for good at 34-30.
Needing a touchdown, Northwestern drove to the OSU 34, but on a fourth and-1, Kain from under center bobbled the snap and was stopped short.
The Wildcats didn’t get the ball back until there was just 21 seconds left deep in their own territory and no timeouts remaining. That resulted in a hook-and-lateral for the game’s last play and Venric Mark fumbled and the ball was pounced on by freshman defensive end Joey Bosa in the end zone.
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller was bottled up most of the contest while turning the ball over three times, twice on fumbles with one interception. Miller didn’t have a very good night and finished 15-of-26 passing for 203 yards.
“Anytime you go on a 12-round, 15-round fight with someone and you come out the other end it just builds toughness and we’re a tough team,” said Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer. “We toughed out a win.”