With Clemson trailing 3-0, and with the ball resting at his own 41, running back Wayne Gallman took a handoff and ran up inside where he patiently waited to see if a hole might open up. When it did not, he bounced the play outside off left tackle and that is when quarterback Deshaun Watson made a key block on the edge to get the running back out in space where Gallman out ran the Boston College defense for a 59-yard touchdown.
The run gave the Tigers a lead they did not relinquish the rest of the night. However, it did more than that. It opened up everything else as No. 3 Clemson scored five touchdowns of 42 or more yards in the 46-point win.
“You barley get that much green in football and when you see that, it generally means someone missed an assignment or does something wrong,” Gallman said. “But that was just great execution and I’m glad Deshaun gave me that extra block to give me that hole to go through.”
Clemson, who will host NC State on Saturday in Death Valley, put up 508 yards against BC’s No. 1 ranked defense at the time. This is a week after putting up 507 yards against what was a top 10 Louisville defense.
Before playing the Cardinals, the Tigers had just three plays of 30-plus yards. They have had seven in the last two games.
“We played some pretty good defenses at the start of the season which has us where we are right now, hitting our stride,” Gallman said. “It helped us learn what we needed to do and what we needed to work on. Those first couple of games helped us and now it is all starting to come together.”
Against Louisville, the Tigers (6-0, 3-0 ACC) used big plays as well to get things going. However, instead of the running game opening up the passing game, it was the other way around. Long touchdown passes to Deon Cain in the second quarter got the running game going as Gallman rushed for 110 yards in the six-point victory.
The big plays against Louisville, in which Clemson scored five touchdowns in 12 plays, affected the way the Eagles tried to defend them, which allowed Gallman the opportunity to break off the longest play of the season to this point.
“When they put a lot of guys in the box, it makes it awfully hard to run against,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “That is what we saw against Georgia Tech. Defenses are going to do that. They are going to make you hit and connect on those (deep) balls and once you do, they start playing you a little bit different.
“Boston College played us a little bit more zone than they have played up to this point this year. I think a lot of that had to do with some of the guys on the outside and the threat of the vertical passing game. What that did, was open up the running game. They had one less guy in the box than they typically did and the numbers were more in our favor. There is no doubt that has a positive impact as we move on.”
Clemson rushed for 230 yards against BC, the most rushing yards the Eagles have allowed all season. The Tigers also rushed for 201 yards against Louisville, the most it has given up.
“They are really creating a push,” Gallman said while complimenting his offensive line. “They have been doing a really great job of taking that criticism from early in the year, and using it as a chip on their shoulder, and they are showing the country they are a good offensive line.”
Gallman’s numbers are showing, too. In the Tigers’ four biggest challenges to this point—Auburn, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Boston College—he has rushed for 401 of his 475 yards and scored four of his five touchdowns.
He averaged 5.6 yards per carry in those four games.
“The run (game) creates everything. It really sets up the pass, and sets up everything in the offense and gets everything going. I’m glad to have done that,” he said.
And so is Clemson.