After Alabama’s loss to Auburn last week, No. 2 Ohio State is just one win away from playing for the national title. Scoring that win won’t be easy, however, as it will have to get past Michigan State in what should be a hard-hitting Big Ten Championship Game.
The Buckeyes may have more star power than the Spartans, but Michigan State has performed well above expectations this season thanks to a dominant defense.
Ohio State has been equally great offensively, so something has to give when these two teams meet on Saturday night.
Here is a closer look at the players from both sides who will have the biggest hand in deciding the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game.
Ohio State is stacked with talent on the offensive side of the ball, but there is little doubt that running back Carlos Hyde is the biggest key to its success.
Hyde is perhaps the preeminent big-play back in the nation, as he is averaging nearly eight yards per carry. The senior has racked up a career-high 1,290 rushing yards and his 16 total touchdowns are one less than the career mark he set last year.
As noted by the conference’s Twitter account, all of that garnered him the Big Ten’s top running back honor:
Although so much attention is paid to quarterback Braxton Miller, there is no way that he would be having so much success if not for Hyde.
This is a hallmark of Urban Meyer-coached teams. Quarterback Tim Tebow got much of the credit for Florida’s success a few years ago, but he had…