So, this game was kind of fun.
Both the offense and defense finally clicked and everyone was fantastic as South Carolina ruined Arkansas’ homecoming celebrations by trouncing them 52-7.
The Hogs got off to a good start, scoring on their first possession of the game. Alex Collins ran six yards to the end zone to put the home team on top, and the USC defense looked a little suspect on the drive. Fortunately, they fixed that quickly, and Arkansas didn’t score again. At all. In the entire game.
Meanwhile, after a bit of a slow start, the Cocks offense was firing on all cylinders. They had to settle for a 33-yard Elliott Fry field goal midway through the first quarter, but two minutes later Victor Hampton nabbed an interception and Mike Davis scored a touchdown to give Carolina a lead they would never relinquish.
Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce Ellington added two TDs in the second quarter, one early on and one right before the half, to give the Gamecocks a 24-7 lead heading into the locker room. That was nice and all, but we’ve seen South Carolina have a sizable lead at halftime and blow it in the second quarter, so it seemed like the game was by no means over.
Except that it kind of was, because the Razorbacks were…not good in the second half.
Damiere Byrd, who’d had a couple of dropped balls, caught a beautiful pass from Connor Shaw and took it to the house early in the third quarter, padding the Cocks’ lead even more. Then Shaw scored a touchdown himself late in the quarter, making it 38-7. It seemed like that would be enough to secure a win, but then again, the fourth quarter defense has been a little shaky this season. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case today.
In the fourth quarter, Kane Whitehurst – former Arkansas player – caught a TD of his own, and then with just over a minute remaining in the game, third-string QB Brendan Nosovitch ran one in to push USC over 50 points on the day.
After the game, Steve Spurrier had this to say:
“I do feel badly for Arkansas. That’s no fun getting your butt beat at home, Homecoming and all that.”
Indeed. It was the Gamecocks’ biggest margin of victory ever on the road, breaking a record set more than a century ago (68-0 over Charleston in 1912) and it was a nice bounce back after last weekend’s game against Kentucky. The Jadeveon Clowney news bonanza this week, as annoying as it was, maybe helped motivate the team a little, and even if it didn’t, hopefully all of that nonsense can be laid to rest now. The HBC said after the game that Clowney gave a pre-game pep talk and he was spotted on the sidelines keeping guys pumped up, so clearly he is a selfish jerk and we’d be better off without him.
In other news, Shaw is a rockstar and I’ll be swooning over him for the rest of forever. He finished the day 19-of-28 for 219 yards and three touchdowns, plus he had 37 yards and a TD on 14 carries. He also has yet to throw an interception this season, so that’s kind of really awesome. His Hogs counterpart, Brandon Allen, didn’t have such a great performance. He went a measly 4-0f-12 for 30 yards and a pick.
Davis led Carolina in rushing with 19 carries for 128 yards (he’s gone for 100+ yards in all six games this season) and a touchdown and Ellington led them in receiving with six catches for 96 yards and two TDs. Shamier Jeffery also had his first catch of his career (he had five total today). Collins had 69 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and Javontee Herndon had one reception for 20 yards to lead Arkansas.
South Carolina racked up 32 first downs while the Razorbacks had just seven. The Cocks also outgained Arkansas in total yardage, 537-248. USC had possession of the ball for more than 43 minutes and turned the ball over once, while the Hogs did so three times.
The Gamecocks improve to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC, while the Razorbacks drop to 3-4 overall and 0-3 in conference play. South Carolina will be on the road against Tennessee next weekend and Arkansas will travel to play No. 1 Alabama.