Wayne Gallman is often the forgotten man in Clemson’s backfield, but he put together a memorable performance in the Orange Bowl Thursday night in Miami.
The redshirt sophomore rushed for 150 yards, including 111 in the second half, to help the Tigers to a 37-17 win over Oklahoma.
Gallman wore down the Sooners’ defense, pounding through the line of scrimmage and breaking tackles time and time again.
He had 10 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter alone as Clemson took control and turned a one-point deficit into a 13-point lead. He added a four-yard touchdown run with 10:48 remaining to put the game away.
Gallman said he knew in the second half he would have the opportunity to carry the load.
“I don’t really think there’s anything different other than really wanting to close out the game, really wanting to make an impact, and to be able to finish the game is always something special,” he said.
Gallman is now at 1,482 yards and has set the record for most rushing yards in a season in Clemson history. He has topped the 100-yard rushing mark six times in the past seven games.
“People are sooner or later going to realize that Wayne Gallman is pretty dang special,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
Clemson linebackers B.J. Goodson and Ben Boulware made impressive interceptions in the second half to help the Tigers pitch a shutout after intermission.
With Clemson leading 30-17 late in the third quarter, Goodson tipped a Baker Mayfield pass to himself before hauling in the pick.
Two drives later with Oklahoma set up at the Tigers’ 5-yard line, Boulware hauled in a one-handed interception to keep the Sooners out of the end zone.
WATSON RUNS WILD
Oklahoma’s defense had no answer for Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson running the ball in the first half.
Sooners players said leading up to the game that they planned to hone in on the Heisman finalist as if he were a running back, but allowed the Tigers star to accumulate 119 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown in the opening two quarters.
Watson has topped the 100-yard rushing mark five times in the past six games.
“Deshaun Watson, he’s the best player in the country. It’s just that simple,” Swinney said. “This guy is special in every regard, and tonight, he just did an amazing job of playing one play at a time, and just leading this team to another great victory.”