Hogs Upset No. 9 South Carolina 10-7; Carlos H
BY ANDRES FOCIL
Little Rock, Ark. – Carlos Hall’s block of a South Carolina field goal attempt with less than one minute remaining in the game preserved a 10-7 upset victory over the ninth-ranked Gamecocks Saturday afternoon.
The win pushed the Razorbacks to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the Southeastern Conference and dropped previously unbeaten South Carolina to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in SEC play.
“This was a win that we needed so badly,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “Our coaches had a great game plan and our players left their hearts on the field. It may not have been a pretty game, but I wouldn’t trade a single play for the way it ended.”
The victory improved the Hog’s record to 11-0 in Little Rock under Nutt.
“Little Rock has always been a special place for us,” Nutt said. “We are undefeated here in four years and it just means so much to us to come here and play in front of all these great fans.”
Defense dominated the game for both teams as neither could manage a touchdown in the first half of play.
The Razorbacks got on the scoreboard first with a 12-play 54-yard drive that culminated in Brennan O’Donohoe’s 21-yard field goal with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter.
The Razorback defense held South Carolina to six yards of offense in the first quarter and intercepted quarterback Phil Petty twice, his first interceptions of the season.
With the score 3-0 at halftime, South Carolina used a little razzle-dazzle on the second-half kickoff as Derek Watson ran a reverse out to the Gamecock 39 yard line.
From there, back-up quarterback Corey Jenkins directed South Carolina’s only scoring drive of the day. Jenkins broke through the Razorback defensive front and scrambled 41 yards to the end zone to give the Gamecocks a 7-3 advantage.
On the ensuing possession, Arkansas quarterback Zak Clark directed a 15-play, 69-yard drive that consumed 7:28 off the clock and culminated with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Richard Smith to put the Hogs back on top at 10-7.
The Hogs time and again stifled the Gamecock offense in the third and fourth quarters to preserve the lead.
With 6:23 remaining in the game, South Carolina forced an Arkansas punt and took over at their 20 yard line.
Petty moved the Gamecocks into Razorback territory aided by a 21-yard completion to Watson and a 30-yard completion to Brian Scott. With 48 seconds remaining in the game, the Gamecocks lined up for a game-tying field goal from Daniel Weaver who had missed only one attempt this year.
As the ball was kicked, Hall leapt high over the line and blocked the kick with both hands to propel the Hogs to victory.
“Curt Davis and Jermaine Brooks got great penetration,” Nutt said of the blocked kick. “It looked like Carlos was 12 feet high. It was an amazing play that we will never forget.”
Hall finished the game with with five tackles including one tackle for loss.
“This is such a great win for us,” Hall said. “I have to give credit to my teammates because this was a total team victory. You also have to give credit to the fans. They were awesome today and they really were our 12th man.”
For the game, the Hogs totaled 224 yards of offense with 162 yards coming from the running game. Razorback Fred Talley notched his second consecutive 100-yard effort with 111 yards on a career-best 33 carries.
Clark finished the game 8-for-20 for 62 yards and one touchdown.
After being held to 65 yards of offense in the first half, the Gamecocks finished with 272 yards for the game.
The Razorbacks will now enjoy a week off before hosting the Auburn Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Oct. 27.
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