The Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) remained undefeated since Urban Meyer took over as coach last year.
On a rain-soaked field and with a prime-time audience watching, they rallied from 10 down in the third quarter to take out a team aiming to show it could beat the best in the conference.
Two scoring runs by Hyde in the fourth quarter helped prevent that. He was credited with a 2-yard touchdown after a replay review early in the fourth to put Ohio State ahead 26-23.
Then, after Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian connected with Cameron Dickerson on a 12-yard score, Hyde ran it in from the 7 with 5:22 left in the game. That made it 34-30.
The Buckeyes haven’t lost since dropping four in a row to close out the 2011 season and are eyeing a national championship after going undefeated in Meyer’s first year. However, they were banned from a bowl game in 2012 because of NCAA sanctions stemming from the tattoo scandal.
They’re coming off a 31-24 win over Wisconsin and faced a stern challenge from Northwestern, which led by as many as 10 before faltering.
The last time Northwestern knocked off a Top-five team, Dwight Eishenhower was in the White House. The Wildcats opened the 1959 season with a win over No. 2 Oklahoma and took out No. 5 Iowa a week later, but they haven’t beaten a team ranked that high since then.