Arkansas’ yearly series with South Carolina began with a blowout in 1992, and it ended with another Saturday at Razorback Stadium.
The Hogs, coached by interim head coach Joe Kines, administered the first beating, 45-7, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., the week after Arkansas athletics director Frank Broyles fired Jack Crowe one-game into the season after a 10-3 loss to The Citadel.
Unfortunately, the regular series didn’t end as favorably for the Razorbacks. After giving up an early touchdown to Arkansas, the Gamecocks manhandled the Razorbacks, 52-7, extending the Hogs’ losing streak to four games.
Arkansas’ tumble isn’t over yet. The Razorbacks hit the road next week to face No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Next season, Missouri will become the Razorbacks’ annual Eastern Division opponent with South Carolina joining the rotation with other SEC Eastern Division squads.
Going into Saturday’s game all the talk centered around star South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, his health and his dedication to his football team. The time was misspent. No matter how promising Clowney’s NFL career may be, the heart and soul of the Gamecocks and perhaps even their best and most consistent player is senior quarterback Connor Shaw.
Other than a fumble on a handoff, Shaw played a nearly perfect football game.
His play stood in stark contrast to sophomore Razorback Brandon Allen, who has struggled since returning from a shoulder injury three weeks ago.
When Allen threw his fourth interception in three games in the first half, the Razorbacks’ body language visibly sunk. When Mike Davis ran for a six-yard touchdown on the next play, the Hogs appeared whipped even though they trailed just 10-7 with three quarters of football to play.
The game only got uglier until South Carolina built a 31-7 lead with 11:49 left in the third quarter.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and his staff have their work cut out for them. Keeping the Razorbacks engaged enough after four consecutive losses for them to begin to improve is the task at hand. It’s certainly not one to envy.
Offensive Player of the Game
The Gamecocks scored on their final drive of the second quarter to take a 24-7 lead, and they wasted no time adding to the route in the third quarter. On their first drive out of the halftime locker room, quarterback Connor Shaw threw a perfect strike to Damiere Byrd for a 45-yard touchdown for a 31-7 lead.
Shaw completed 19 of 28 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 37 yards and scored a touchdown,
Defensive Player of the Game
Arkansas quarterback Brando Allen and receiver D’Arthur Cowan miscommunicated on a pass route, which allowed South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton to jump the route and pick off the pass. The play psychologically broke the Razorbacks’ fragile will, and the Gamecocks never looked back. There was not a bigger play in the game than Hampton’s interception.
Brandon Allen threw an interception which set up South Carolina’s go-ahead score at the 6-yard line in the first quarter, and in the third quarter, Keon Hatcher fumbled after a 51-yard gain. Alex Collins fumbled at the goal line after a 30-yard gain. His fumble hit the pylon, which is a touchback by rule. Arkansas was penalized three times for 31 yards.
Senior Razorback defensive tackle Robert Thomas was carted to the locker room in the third quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury. Bielema said in his post game press conference that Thomas broke a bone, and would require surgery, and would out for a significant amount of time.
No 1 Alabama awaits its shot at the Razorbacks. Kick off next Saturday is set for 6 p.m. with the game being televised by one of the ESPN family of stations.