Arkansas showcased its dominate rushing attack once again, but South Carolina’s bend-but-don’t-break defense came up with a stop when it needed it most.
Running back Darren McFadden was stopped short on fourth-and-one inside the South Carolina 20 yard-line with 3:33 remaining in the game and the Gamecocks held on to win 14-10 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
McFadden enjoyed another banner day, rushing for 187 yards on 32 carries, but South Carolina still managed to spoil Homecoming and Senior Day celebrations in Fayetteville.
A failed fourth down conversion proved costly for the Razorbacks early in the game as South Carolina took advantage of great field position. Arkansas freshman quarterback Casey Dick, playing in his first collegiate game, came up short on a quarterback sneak attempt and the Gamecocks took over on downs at the Arkansas 29-yard line. South Carolina quarterback Black Mitchell hit Sydney Rice for a seven-yard touchdown pass and the Gamecocks led 7-0 with 7:33 to play in the first quarter.
Dick got the Arkansas offense rolling in the second quarter, converting pass completions on two third down plays to keep the drive alive. A 20-yard rush by McFadden set up a first-and-goal and Dick tallied his first career touchdown pass on a four-yard bootleg to Peyton Hillis to tie the game 7-7. Dick completed 12-of-24 passes for 137 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his debut as a Razorback.
South Carolina drove the ball to the Arkansas 14 yard-line on its’ next drive, but Desmond Sims and Keith Jackson sacked Mitchell on third down and the Gamecocks were kept off the scoreboard when Josh Brown’s 41-yard field goal attempt failed.
Arkansas took over on its own 24-yard line. McFadden rushed 36 yards up the sideline but was pushed out at the one yard-line. Arkansas couldn’t punch it in however, and settled for a 19-yard field goal by Chris Balseiro. The field goal gave Arkansas its first lead of the game 10-7 with just three seconds to play in the first half.
The third quarter was shaping up to be a defensive battle until South Carolina’s Orus Lambert intercepted Dick’s pass at the line of scrimmage with six seconds to play in the period, giving the Gamecocks the ball at the Arkansas 42-yard line with. On the ensuing play, Mitchell found wide receiver Kenny McKinley wide open over the middle for a touchdown and South Carolina took a 14-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
That proved to be the difference as neither team managed to score in the final period.
After a South Carolina punt midway through the fourth quarter, Arkansas took over on its 21 and continued its strong running attack. The Razorbacks moved the ball to the South Carolina 17 on the legs of McFadden and Felix Jones. The freshman duo carried the ball on all nine plays of the drive, but South Carolina’s defense came up with a crucial stop on fourth-and-two. McFadden was stopped for a loss and the Gamecocks took over on downs. The Razorback defense forced a punt, but the offense could not muster another first down.
McFadden rushed for more than 100 yards for the fourth consecutive game while Jones added 66 yards on 11 carries to his season totals. McFadden had 187 yards on 32 carries.
Defensively, linebacker Sam Olajubutu had 11 tackles while end Desmond Sims had nine tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Arkansas out-gained South Carolina 356-187, but the Hogs were whistled for seven penalties for 77 yards, and Dick was sacked four times for 33 yards in losses.
South Carolina wide receiver Sydney Rice caught a touchdown pass for the eighth consecutive ball game as the Gamecocks improved to 6-3, 4-3 in conference play.
The Razorbacks (2-6, 0-5) travel to Oxford, Miss., next week for a non-televised game. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.