Friday, February 27, 2015
Gamecocks Roll Past Arkansas 38-20
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- No. 12/11 South Carolina amassed 383 yards of offense and forced three turnovers en route to a dominant 38-20 win over Arkansas on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.
With the victory, the Gamecocks improve to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC. The win snaps a three-game losing streak to the Razorbacks and extends South Carolina’s home winning streak to 10 games, which is the third longest streak in school history. Arkansas drops to 4-6 on the season and 2-4 in conference play.
The Gamecocks racked up more than 300 yards of offense for the seventh time this season and fell just short of reaching 400 for the fourth time. Junior quarterback Connor Shaw led the way, completing 14-of-22 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a score as well. Five of his completions went to sophomore receiver Bruce Ellington, who finished the contest with a career-high 104 receiving yards and a touchdown. Freshman tight end Jerell Adams added a 29-yard touchdown reception, the first of his career.
Freshman running back Mike Davis led the ground attack, rushing for 57 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Defensively, the Gamecocks surrendered 360 yards of offense but they forced three turnovers, including a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior D.J. Swearinger. A native of Greenwood, S.C., Swearinger recorded a career-high 13 tackles on the day.
Senior cornerback Akeem Auguste also had an interception, while senior linebacker Reginald Bowens recovered a fumble. Sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney added two tackles and a sack. He now has 9.5 on the season, which ranks third all-time at South Carolina for sacks in a single season.
The Gamecocks came out strong early offensively as they marched 77 yards in 10 plays on their opening possession. Shaw connected with Adams across the middle for a 29-yard scoring strike to give South Carolina a 7-0 lead at the 5:47 mark of the first quarter.
Arkansas knotted the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter, as quarterback Tyler Wilson capped a six-play, 50-yard scoring drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher. For the contest, Wilson completed 26-of-41 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a pair of interceptions.
South Carolina answered to regain the lead for good on the ensuing possession. A 36-yard pass from Shaw to Ellington and a personal foul penalty on the Razorbacks on the third play of the drive set the Gamecocks up at the Arkansas 14-yard line. Three plays later, Shaw rolled around the right side and sprinted to the pylon for a 10-yard touchdown run, giving the Gamecocks a 14-7 advantage with 5:28 left in the half.
A 20-yard field goal by Zach Hocker at the 3:28 mark of the second quarter pulled Arkansas to within 14-10, but South Carolina extended its lead to double digits just before the half. On fourth and 5 from the Arkansas 42, Shaw connected with a wide-open Ellington near the sideline, and Ellington made a defender miss as he darted into the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Gamecocks a 21-10 lead with 1:30 remaining in the half.
The Razorbacks moved the ball to the Gamecock 45 on their last possession of the half, but Aldrick Fordham and Chaz Sutton each came up with a sack to end the threat and send the teams into the locker room with South Carolina leading 21-10.
South Carolina put the game out of reach early in the second half. After Adam Yates drilled a 41-yard field goal to give the Gamecocks a 24-10 lead on the opening possession of the third quarter, the defense provided the game-sealing play on the ensuing possession. On first and 10 from the South Carolina 36, Swearinger stepped in front of a Wilson pass and returned the interception 69 yards to the end zone, giving the Gamecocks a 31-10 cushion.
After Hocker made it a 31-13 game with a 21-yard field goal at the 5:48 mark of the third quarter, the Gamecocks added one more touchdown, a 2-yard run by Davis, on the ensuing possession to push their lead to 38-13.
The Gamecocks return to action next Saturday in their final home game of the season against Wofford. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis.
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