“I know I’m not a big guy, but you’ve got to run with power. Smitty (OU strength and conditioning coach Jerry Schmidt) did a great job in the offseason with me. My lower half is pretty strong. That helps me run through tackles and make people miss,” Clay said.
He’s done a lot of both this season. Clay is just 157 yards short of 1,000 this season. OU hasn’t had a running back do that since DeMarco Murray in 2010.
Clay has had big runs like Murray did that season. The difference is they haven’t been a matter of beating the defense to the corner. He’s done just about all of it by wading through defensive linemen and linebackers.
“I don’t necessarily believe you have to be a big guy to run between the tackles. I’ve been fortunate enough to do that pretty well this year,” he said. “And the O-line does a great job of reading their keys. If they get a hat on hat, there’s normally just one guy in the hole. If you’re able to make him miss you’re going to the house. They do a great job of allowing me to do so.”
OU will need to ride him again Saturday. It’s going to be brutally cold in Stillwater and the team that runs the ball best will have a great shot at winning.
Clay has a history of being a dagger in the Cowboys’ heart. It was nearly 54 weeks ago he ended the Sooners’ 51-48 overtime victory against OSU with an 18-yard touchdown run.
That carry would have been the biggest highlight of Clay’s career going into this season. But it was before he became the workhorse this season and an essential component to the Sooners’ offense this season.