CLEMSON — The biggest obstacles to Braden Galloway's second touchdown in Clemson's 42-17 win over Miami last weekend were space and time.
Galloway caught the ball around the 7-yard-line, turned and made off for the corner of the end zone. Miami safety Brian Balom, in response, left his assignment and sped to close the gap between Galloway and the pylon.
That's when the tight end unleashed on Balom the force of inertia.
Both players had been in motion, but when they collided it was Balom who tumbled to the ground, leaving Galloway standing victorious.
"That's just the passion of the game showing right there," Galloway said, but it seemed to be more than that. It felt like a rebuke of the green and orange 'U' on Balom's helmet, and of the notion that it was the Hurricanes who boast the most talented tight end corps in the ACC.
Entering the bout, conversation centered on Miami's hyped tight end duo of Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory. But on Saturday it was Galloway and his co-star Davis Allen who looked more like the league's preeminent combo.
"Braden is a special talent," coach Dabo Swinney said. "And Davis Allen is another guy, a sophomore, big, strong, athletic."
On a night no Tigers wide receiver caught a touchdown pass, it was Galloway and Allen who did the heavy-lifting. Allen caught a 22-yard touchdown from Lawrence with fewer than fives minutes left in the contest to cap the scoring.
And he provided the key block on the left side on running back Travis Etienne's touchdown midway through the third quarter. It was an important performance for the sophomore after he spent much of last season nursing an ankle injury.
"If you were building a football player, man, he's close to being a model, just because of his toughness, his athleticism, and how he prepares," offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said.
The same could be said about Galloway, who now ranks fourth on the team in receptions (11) and receiving yards (151).
His first score came about five minutes into the contest, on a screen pass in which the offensive line delayed its release from the line of scrimmage.
Once Galloway caught the pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence, he rumbled through the blockers on the left side for the score. The play called to mind a similar sequence executed by former tight end Jordan Leggett in Clemson's 58-0 win at Miami in 2015.
"It's really on the tight end to set up the timing, because he's got to wait for the rushes to clear, give the quarterback an opportunity to escape the pocket just a little bit, and then he has to make the call," Elliott said.
Galloway and Allen's contributions are more noteworthy considering the Tigers' wide receiving corps' production has lagged behind recent seasons.
Etienne has been a weapon in the passing game, and senior wide receiver Amari Rodgers has caught 19 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. But otherwise things have been slow. Sophomore Frank Ladson has shown flashes, though on Saturday he dropped a likely touchdown. Fellow sophomore Joseph Ngata has earned high praise from Swinney but been limited because of an abdominal strain.
That's where Galloway —and if Saturday is any indication — Allen come in. Neither Jordan nor Mallory caught any touchdowns in the game and they combined for just four receptions on 36 yards.
Clemson's tight ends, meanwhile, left their head coach excited for what might come next. Their three touchdown catches marked the most in one game for the position group in Swinney's tenure.
"When we've been at our best, we've always had a tight end that's a big factor in what we do," Swinney said.