WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Even in a relatively quiet junior season, tailback Wayne Gallman continues to find himself in the end zone and Clemson’s record book.
Gallman (22 carries, 161 yards, 2 TD Saturday) set a school record with his 16th career 100-yard game in the Tigers’ 35-13 victory at Wake Forest. Clemson is 16-0 when Gallman reaches 100 yards.
Gallman has scored in eight of ten games this season. On Saturday, he replaced Travis Zachery (1998-01) as Clemson’s No. 5 all-time leading career rusher.
With 3,127 career yards, Gallman is next pursuing Moncks Corner native Andre Ellington (2009-12), who had 3,436 rushing yards at Clemson.
Clemson’s first drive brought up fourth-and-one from the Wake Forest 42-yard-line, and the Tigers got 42 yards. Gallman ran over right guard into open space and raced to his 12th touchdown of the year.
Then in the fourth quarter, with Wake Forest having scored 13 straight points to trim Clemson’s lead to 28-13, Gallman’s 19-yard run put the Tigers on the goal line before he bowled over a Demon Deacons defender for his seventh 1-yard touchdown in 2016.
Gallman has 831 yards on 160 carries this season, for 5.2 yards an attempt.
In the doghouse
Some faulty hands work allowed Wake Forest to climb back into the game after Clemson took a 28-0 lead.
Twice on a windy night Saturday, Ray-Ray McCloud couldn’t haul in a punt. He managed to fall on the first loose ball, but the second was recovered by Wake Forest on the Clemson 28-yard-line to set up a 42-yard field goal for the Demon Deacons’ first points.
McCloud now has six fumbles on punt returns this year, including four upon trying to catch the punt. He lost a fumble deep in his own territory at Boston College, and fell on his own muff against N.C. State.
McCloud lost the handle on an 11-yard return against Georgia Tech recovered by Clemson, and infamously dropped the ball before crossing the goal line on a 74-yard runback vs. Troy to nullify a touchdown and give the Trojans possession.
Other than that Troy return, McCloud has 20 returns for 102 yards this year, or 5.1 yards per return.
Artavis Scott replaced McCloud at punt returner late in the first half. The team’s top kick returner, Scott had 1 punt return for 1 yard entering Saturday.
“It's unfortunate because he is such a talented player," head coach Dabo Swinney said. "But he’s got a job to do. That was a critical error right there. The No. 1 thing is to get a guy back there to protect the ball.”
Carlos the leader
With a third-down sack in the third quarter, Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins extended his team lead to 7.5 sacks this season.
Watkins is on pace to become Clemson’s first defensive tackle to lead or co-lead the team in sacks since Nick Eason had seven in 2000, along with linebacker Keith Adams. The last Tigers DT with double-digit sacks was Michael Dean Perry, with 10 during his 1987 first-team All-American campaign.
Freshman defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was a little too jacked up to play his first college game in his home state.
The Wake Forest, N.C. native (a suburb of Raleigh) ran into the punter on Wake Forest’s second drive, giving the Demon Deacons their first first down of the evening.
However, Wake had to punt three plays later, and Tigers redshirt freshman Chad Smith got a piece of it, resulting in a 16-yard punt.
Wake Forest's Dom Maggio did bang an 80-yard punt in the second half.
Too bad, Tank
Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley made an impressive interception that was negated by offsetting penalties, when both team committed a holding infraction before the pick.
Tankersley had five interceptions in 2015 to lead the Tigers; he has one this year.
Nice try, though
Impressively, Clemson kicker Greg Huegel tapped and recovered his own surprise onside kick. Unfortunately, the Tigers were ruled offsides, forcing Clemson to re-kick.
On the bright side for Huegel, after missing five extra points last year, he was 5-for-5 Saturday and is 48-for-50 in 2016.
Nod to Arnie
The 50-yard-line at BB&T Field is painted with a colored umbrella, in homage to the late Arnold Palmer. The umbrella was part of Palmer’s corporate logo.
Palmer, the 4-time Masters champion who passed away in September, played his college golf at Wake Forest.
Change of heart
The Tigers have decided to place wholesale trust in their defense in terms of the coin flip.
Clemson has deferred possession to the second half five of six times this year when winning the toss; the lone exception was the season opener at Auburn, when coaches were more confident in its veteran returns on offense. The Tigers deferred all six times in 2015 upon making the decision.
That’s a contrast to the 2012 and 2013 seasons, when Clemson elected to receive 11 of 12 times upon winning the toss.