Oct. 12, 2013
|Mike Davis and Jadeveon Clowney
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – South Carolina (5-1, 3-1 SEC) posted its most complete game of the season with an astounding offensive performance to defeat Arkansas (3-4, 0-3 SEC) on Saturday afternoon at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The Gamecock offense held the ball for 43:25 of the contest, posting 537 yards on 89 plays, compared to Arkansas’ 248 on 37 plays. Senior quarterback Connor Shaw threw for three touchdown and 219 yards in 19-for-28 passing and added a rushing TD as well. Sophomore running back Mike Davis ran for 128 yards and a score on 19 carries, and junior wide receiver Bruce Ellington caught six passes for 96 yards and two TDs, tying his career high. He also made a career-long 53-yard reception in the contest.
Arkansas opened the game with a 7-play, 65-yard, capped by Alex Collins’ 6-yard run. South Carolina had a drive stall deep in Arkansas territory, but freshman Elliott Fry salvaged it with a 33-yard field goal. The Gamecock defense took over, holding Arkansas to one first down after that opening drive. Two plays after that last first down, Gamecock junior Victor Hampton intercepted Brandon Allen’s pass and returned it to the Arkansas 6-yard line. Davis scored on the next play to give South Carolina the 10-7 advantage. Davis dominated play in the first quarter, gaining 63 yards on just eight carries.
The Gamecocks stretched the lead to 17-7 when Shaw found Ellington wide open in the end zone from 9 yards out early in the second quarter. South Carolina drove deep into Razorback territory before a Shaw fumble gave Arkansas the ball back. A three-and-out forced another Hog punt, when Sam Irwin-Hill boomed one 79 yards that resulted in a touchback.
After the long punt, Arkansas forced the only Gamecock punt of the half before getting the ball back near midfield. Two running plays got Arkansas to their own 49, but an incomplete pass put Arkansas at fourth down again. The pass on the fake punt fell incomplete, giving the Gamecocks the short field. It took 12 plays to cover the ground, and Shaw hit Ellington from four yards out to give the Gamecocks the 24-7 lead just before the half. Shaw threw for 149 yards while Ellington had 96 receiving yards, both getting two scores.
The Gamecocks added two more touchdowns in the third quarter, first on the initial drive of the second half, ended by junior Damiere Byrd’s 45-yard catch from Shaw. Then the Gamecocks, after senior cornerback Jimmy Legree stripped Keon Hatcher after a long run, embarked on the second-longest drive time-wise of head coach Steve Spurrier’s tenure. South Carolina ran 9:29 off the clock, and Shaw ended it on the 15th play by scrambling in from 10 yards out.
Kane Whitehurst scored in his return to Arkansas, reeling in a 15-yard pass from junior Dylan Thompson for the sixth South Carolina touchdown. Redshirt freshman Brendan Nosovitch scored the final Gamecock touchdown with his 7-yard run with 1:07 left in the contest.
South Carolina’s defense limited the Arkansas offense to seven first downs in the contest. Allen struggled all game, going 4-for-12 for 30 yards passing with one interception. The Gamecocks also forced two Razorback fumbles, recovering them both. The 248 yards of offense for Arkansas ranks as the lowest allowed by South Carolina this season. Freshman Skai Moore led the Gamecocks with six tackles.
Gamecock redshirt sophomore Shamier Jeffery caught his first career pass, taking in five for 32 yards. The 45-point victory stands as the largest margin in a road win in Spurrier’s tenure at South Carolina, while the 52 points are the most by a Gamecock team under Spurrier on the road. With 32 first downs, the Gamecocks tied the high in the Spurrier era at South Carolina.
The Gamecocks hit the middle of their three-game road swing next Saturday at Tennessee. ESPN provides the television coverage of the 12 p.m. EDT game.