Columbia, SC (UofA) - Knile Davis and Ryan Mallett combined to dominate the top team from the Eastern Division as the University of Arkansas pounded the South Carolina, 41-20.
The win moved the Razorbacks to 7-2 on the year and 4-2 in the SEC. Carolina drops to 6-3 and 4-3 in league play and was the first loss at Williams-Brice Stadium for the Gamecocks this season. The Gamecocks are now tied with Florida for the East lead.
Davis finished with well over 100 yards against the SEC's top-ranked rushing defense. The Gamecocks game into the game giving up only 100.1 yards per game while Davis ran for 110 and three touchdowns.
Davis' three TDs tied the most given up by Carolina to a single rusher, equalling the three rushing TDs by Auburn's Cam Newton.
Mallett finsihed the night with 21-of-30 for 303 yards and a single passing touchdown.
As a team, the Razorbacks racked up 443 yards to only 295 for USC. After allowing USC a touchdown early in the first quarter, the Razorbacks kept the Gamecock offense out of the end zone the rest of the contest. South Carolina got two field goals and a fumble returned for a TD.
Along with Davis' 100-yard game, Cobi Hamilton had seven catches for 111 yards, the first of his career. Senior D.J. Wiliams had five catches for 67 yards in the first half.
Arkansas took command of the game from the start.
The Razorbacks held Carolina to three and out before Mallett stepped on the field to direct a 9 plays, 59 yards, drive over 4:12 to open the game. The Razorbacks made the ground game a big part of the drive, but a 27-yard catch and run for Williams and a four-yard TD strike to a wide open Hamilton, his third of the year, gave the Hogs the opening lead.
Stephen Garcia got the Gamecock passing game in gear on the next possession, marching 76-yards in nine plays for a tying score. It proved to be the only offensive TD of the night for USC and the last time the Gamecocks saw Arkansas.
Razorbacks hold USC's next drive as the Gamecocks' top running back, Lattimore, sustained a bruised knee on the possession. Hogs move 53 yards up field, but a sack of Mallett by Akeem Auguste stops the drive. Zach Hocker's 41-yard field goal put Arkansas back ahead, 10-7, with 10:32 in the second quarter.
A controversial play in the Razorback red zone allowed the Gamecocks to avoid a costly turnover. Jerry Franklin flung Garcia to the turf as the USC quarterback attempted to unload the pass. The ball appeared to come lose as a fumble, but was ruled a sack. Two plays later, USC field goal kicker Spencer Lanning hit the left upright preserving Arkansas' lead.
Arkansas turns the game around with a 57-yard bomb by Mallett to Jarius Wright to fuel a four-play, 80-yard drive. Davis' two-yard run following a pass interference call against Williams in the end zone put the Hogs up 17-7 with 6:33 in the second.
Carolina mistakes, including a fumbled shot gun snap, stalled USC on its next possession. Deep in its own territory, the Gamecocks went for the fake punt, but Elton Ford shut down the play for no gain. Giving the Razorbacks a short field, Davis tightroped the south sideline for 21 yards to score to close the 37-yard drive. The PAT by Hocker made it 24-7 Razorbacks with 1:57 in the first half.
Arkansas opened the second half with a time-consuming drive to inside the South Carolina red zone before a tipped ball is intercepted at the goal line by the Gamecocks. Garcia returned the favor by hitting Tremain Thomas with an interception at the Gamecock 20. Arkansas punched in the touchdown with Davis going over from one-yard out and cross 100 yards for the game and the 31-10 lead.
The Razorbacks added 10 more points before Carolina could recover. A 51-yard field goal by Hocker, a school record in the SEC era and the longest by a freshman in recorded UA history, moved the score to 34-10 before Mallett carried across one yard for a 41-10 margin to start the fourth quarter.
Carolina changed quarterbacks, benching Garcia but losing the second string play caller, Connor Shaw, during its next drive to injury. A 31-yard field goal by Lanning made the margin 41-13 with 5:35 left.
Tyler Wilson replaced Mallett on the next Arkansas drive, and in a fluke play, got stripped of the ball at the one yard line, resulting in a Byron McKnight gets 1-yd fumble return for the touchdown.