The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: November 7th, 12:21 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Razorback Stadium (72,000) -- Fayetteville, Arkansas. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: South Carolina 5-0, Arkansas 3-1. Away Record: South Carolina 1-3, Arkansas 0-3. Neutral Record: South Carolina 0-0, Arkansas 1-0. Conference Record: South Carolina 3-3, Arkansas 1-4. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 10-7.
GAME NOTES: SEC foes collide in Fayetteville this weekend as the Arkansas Razorbacks welcome the South Carolina Gamecocks to town.
South Carolina has lost two of its last three games, erasing the excitement generated by a 5-1 start to the campaign. Last weekend, the Gamecocks were simply no match for Tennessee in a 31-13 setback. They have scored a total of 33 points in their last three outings and have been held to 16 or fewer points five times this season, so there are major problems on the offensive side of the ball.
As for Arkansas, it managed to halt a two-game losing skid with a 63-27 triumph over Eastern Michigan last weekend. The Razorbacks are now an even 4-4 overall, but their 1-4 league record leaves much to be desired.
Arkansas owns a 10-7 series lead over South Carolina, but the Gamecocks recorded a 34-21 triumph over the Razorbacks last season.
The only touchdown scored by South Carolina against Tennessee last weekend came late in the third quarter, as Stephen Garcia tossed a 31-yard scoring pass to Moe Brown. Garcia finished with 50 pass attempts, completing exactly half of those for 300 yards and the one touchdown with one interception. Rather than rely on one receiver to do most of the damage, Garcia spread the ball around to many pass catchers. Unfortunately, the quarterback got little help from a ground attack that managed a mere 65 yards on 20 attempts. Overall this season, South Carolina is scoring 21.9 ppg to go along with 366.2 total ypg. Garcia has completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 2,094 yards and 12 touchdowns and five interceptions, numbers that are much more solid than spectacular. Alshon Jeffery has made 28 catches for 497 yards and five touchdowns, and Kenny Miles paces the ground attack with 454 yards.
The South Carolina defense yielded a modest total of 341 yards to the Tennessee offense last weekend, but the Vols were able to score four touchdowns, with two on the ground and two through the air. The defense was put in bad situations all game long, a statement that is backed up by the fact that the Vols' four scoring drives spanned only 43, 27, 29 and 56 yards. South Carolina turned the ball over four times, so blame the offense more so than the defense for the 31 points generated by Tennessee. Opponents are scoring 19.0 ppg this season against the Gamecocks, who are only posting 294.7 total ypg. Foes are averaging 4.1 ypc on the ground and 10.3 yards per pass completion. Eric Norwood is not only the best player on the South Carolina team, he is also one of the nation's premier defenders. Norwood, the school's all-time leading sack master, has six sacks this season to go along with two interceptions.
Arkansas has put up some respectable offensive numbers this season, as the club is averaging 35.9 ppg to go along with 438.0 total ypg. The Razorbacks have scored 33 offensive touchdowns, 20 of which have been passing scores. Ryan Mallett, the club's starting quarterback, has tossed 18 touchdowns against only three interceptions, and he has 2,148 passing yards to his credit. Greg Childs leads the Hogs in receiving with 591 yards and five scores on 31 catches. Michael Smith has only played six games, but the tailback still leads the team in rushing. In last weekend's victory over Eastern Michigan, Arkansas rolled up 589 total yards, with 292 rushing yards and 297 passing yards. Mallett completed 14-of-16 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions in limited action. Joe Adams made three catches for 109 yards and two scores, while Broderick Green tallied 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Opponents are scoring 27.4 ppg this season against Arkansas, which is yielding 410.6 total ypg. The Razorbacks have struggled mightily against the pass, as opposing quarterbacks are averaging 14.6 yards per reception. The defense has given up 16 passing scores while recording only six interceptions. The run defense has been much better, surrendering a mere 3.9 yards per carry. Wendel Davis leads Arkansas in tackles with 54, and he has made seven TFLs. The Arkansas defense was on the field for over 32 minutes against Eastern Michigan last week, but the Hogs held the Eagles to 1-of-11 success on third down conversion attempts. Arkansas permitted 348 yards in the tilt and came up with one takeaway. The defensive effort wasn't dominant, but it was certainly adequate.
Go with Arkansas in this game, as Mallett will do just enough to get the job done. As long as the Razorbacks can contain Norwood, who is a game changer, the home team should win.