Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, Washington's Bishop Sankey and Baylor's Lache Seastrunk—among a few select others—are routinely mentioned as the best running backs in college football.
Over the last four games, Carlos Hyde is making his case to join the conversation.
A three-game suspension kept Hyde from playing in a majority of Ohio State's nonconference games. He returned against Florida A&M and played sparingly, registering 42 total yards and a touchdown on just six touches.
A week later, against Wisconsin, Hyde took over as Ohio State's primary running back. Since then, he has averaged 137 yards per game and 6.6 yards per carry. He has added seven rushing touchdowns in the Buckeyes' last three games as well.
The 6'0", 235-pound running back isn't just putting up big numbers against bad defenses. In fact, Hyde is bulldozing teams who excel at stopping the run. Three of Ohio State's last four opponents (Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State) boast Top 25 rushing defenses.
|Carlos Hyde's Stats the Last 4 Games|
|Rush Yds||Avg.||TDs||Rush Defense Rank|
Hyde saved Ohio State's undefeated season against Northwestern. The Wildcats had the Buckeyes on the ropes, facing a 10-point, second-half deficit on the road.
Hyde ran the ball 16 times in the second half for 112 yards, but more importantly, he scored each of the Buckeyes' offensive touchdowns. Fueled by Hyde's strong running, the Buckeyes rallied for a 40-30 victory.
The tough running, when paired with his surprising agility, balance and athleticism, makes him a nightmare for defenses. Iowa, which hadn't allowed a rushing touchdown before playing Ohio State, found that out in its Week 8 matchup with the Buckeyes.
Penn State got a small dose of Hyde Saturday night. He played just two-and-a-half quarters, but he still posted a game-high 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
As Ohio State's offense improves and Miller continues to give balance with an effective passing attack, Hyde will continue to thrive.
And as that happens, his case for being the nation's best running back will only grow.
All stats via NCAA.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.