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Nov 9, 2002

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AP Sports Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Matt Jones threw two touchdowns passes and Arkansas’ defense posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1974 with a 23-0 victory over South Carolina on Saturday.

The Razorbacks (6-3, 3-3 SEC) have won their last three and are now bowl eligible. And they’ve done it lately on the strength of a revived defense, which had not shutout consecutive opponents since athletic director Frank Broyles’ teams stopped Tulsa 60-0 and Texas Christian 49-0 nearly three decades ago.

South Carolina (5-5, 3-4 SEC) has lost three straight after starting the season 5-2. Its chances at a school record-setting third straight bowl trip under coach Lou Holtz look shaky with final games at Florida and Clemson.

After the Gamecocks’ nearly seven-minute opening drive ended when Daniel Weaver missed a field goal, Arkansas didn’t let them close to the end zone again. South Carolina quarterback Corey Jenkins, who passed for 45 yards and an interception in a loss to Tennessee last week, didn’t fare much better with 79 yards and two interceptions against the Razorbacks, who came in last in the SEC against the pass.

Arkansas, which managed 125 yards of offense against Troy State, didn’t look all that impressive early on with 126 yards in the opening half and 313 for the game. But the Razorbacks only had to outrun the Gamecocks’ weak attack.

Arkansas end Gavin Walls stepped in front of Jenkins’ flip pass in the second quarter to set up the first score. Jones passed to Jason Peters for 22 yards to start the drive, then Jones hit George Wilson for a 4-yard TD.

A defensive play on Arkansas’ next drive looked like it might spark South Carolina, but officials ruled safety Jonathan Martin had not intercepted Jones’ pitch to Dedrick Poole. David Carlton followed with a 43-yard field goal to give the Razorbacks a 10-0 lead.

Jones put the game away after halftime. With two Gamecocks ready to hit him, Jones threw to freshman Carl Ousley for a 47-yard touchdown with 11:44 left in the third quarter. It was Ousley’s first catch of the season.

The Gamecocks switched between Jenkins, their starting quarterback all year, and popular backup Erik Kimrey several times in the second half. Nothing worked as both were intercepted in the last quarter.

Jones finished 10 of 18 passing for 113 yards. Fred Talley led the Razorbacks with 77 yards rushing and De’Arrius Howard added 69.

South Carolina had not been shut out since 1999 when it lost to Mississippi State 17-0 in Holtz’s fourth game as coach during his 0-11 season.