The popular website Urban Dictionary defines the phrase “Beast Mode” as a “superhuman state of being, in which animal instinct takes over mind and body” or a “hype, energetic, outgoing, wilding out state of mind.”
Ohio State center Corey Linsley has another description of the popular vernacular: Carlos Hyde’s performance against Northwestern.
It was there that the Buckeyes’ running back burst back onto the college football scene, totaling 206 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in OSU’s 40-30 win over the Wildcats. In what was his third game back from a three-game suspension to start the season, Hyde carried the Buckeyes offense on his back -- almost literally -- in an effort that showed Linsley and his teammates that the 2012 second-team All-Big Ten selection was back to his regular self.
“When he went beast mode in the Northwestern game,” Linsley answered when asked when he noticed Hyde was back to his true form. “Guys were just bouncing off him. One of the guys on Northwestern couldn’t tackle him. He just kept bouncing off of them. It was kind of funny. I thought it was a testament to Carlos that he’s running the football like he knows how to run the football.”
This year hasn't always been so easy for Hyde. After a junior campaign that saw him rush for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games, 2013 has already proven to be a tougher test for the Naples, Fla. native.
In July, Hyde was named a person of interest, but was never charged, in an alleged assault at a Columbus nightclub, paving the way for a three-game suspension for what Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer deemed to be “conduct not representative” of the Ohio State football program and university. Hyde spent the Buckeyes’ first fourth of the regular season practicing on the scout team, imitating opposing running backs for OSU’s first-team defense.
And while it wasn’t the start to the season that Hyde was looking for when he opted to return to Columbus for his senior year, the 6-0, 230-pounder said that he may be better off because of it.
“Being on the scout team helped me out with getting out in the open field, making moves. Because that’s the only thing you can do out there,” Hyde said. “I’m not trying to hurt my teammates.”
Once Hyde’s time on the scout team was finished, Meyer made it be known that he was a more than welcomed member of the Buckeyes’ active roster. After carrying the ball just five times for 41 yards in OSU’s Sept. 21 win over Florida A&M, Hyde got his first start of the season in the Buckeyes’ ensuing win over Wisconsin, churning out 85 yards on 17 carries.
It wasn’t until he escaped in Evanston, however, that Hyde truly resembled the breakout star he was a year ago, rushing for 168 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 38 crucial yards in the receiving game. In his postgame press conference, the typically tough Hyde found himself in tears, reflecting on a suspension that came as a result of ultimately unproven accusations that he struck a 19-year-old woman.
“It was kind of a relief off my shoulders,” Hyde said of his emotional postgame presser. “That was kind of in the back of my head.”
Unfortunately for the Buckeyes’ remaining opponents -- starting with Iowa on Saturday -- Hyde has regained the same smile that he wore for most of his successful 2012 season. Asked about the OSU running back, Hawkeyes safety John Lowdermilk, like Linsley, referred to Hyde as a “beast,” a notion that Meyer -- a little out of the loop when it comes to youth lingo -- didn’t seem to understand, but also didn’t dispute.
“It’s pretty cool, I guess,” Meyer said with a laugh of Lowdermilk's comment.
Asked what makes him an apparent “beast,” Hyde referred to his running style and attitude on the field. And while who is a beast and what makes him that may be subject to debate, there’s no question that Hyde is back to being the player that the Buckeyes need him to be for the stretch run of this season.
“I definitely feel like I’m back,” Hyde said. “I’m happy to be back and I’m enjoying it.”
The same can’t be said for opposing defenders like Lowdermilk.