7:00 PM ET, November 6, 2010
Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Arkansas (No. 18 BCS, No. 17 AP) showed South Carolina what a Southeastern Conference title contender should look like.
Ryan Mallett threw for 303 yards, Knile Davis tied a career high with three touchdowns and the Razorbacks (7-2, 4-2 SEC) handed South Carolina (No. 19 BCS, No. 18 AP) its worst home loss in five years, 41-20, on Saturday night.
Despite the hammering, the Gamecocks (6-3, 4-3 SEC) get a shot at the Eastern Division and their first spot in the league title game against Florida at The Swamp next Saturday night.
• Arkansas beat South Carolina for the fourth time in the last five games between the two schools.
• Since Bobby Petrino became head coach, Arkansas has thrown for at least 300 yards in 17 of 34 games.
• South Carolina had its six-game home winning streak stopped and it was just the Gamecocks' second loss in 15 games in Columbia.
• The winner of South Carolina's game at Florida next week will finish atop the SEC East.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
The surging Razorbacks? They're two games behind undefeated Auburn and needing a miracle to reach the top of the SEC West.
"Can't do nothing about it, we're from Arkansas, man," Mallett said. "If we played in the East, it'd be a different story I guess."
The SEC West is 15-2 against the East this season.
The Razorbacks scored on four of their five first-half possessions to lead 24-10 at the break, held Gamecocks star runner Marcus Lattimore to 30 yards and gained 140 yards rushing on the SEC's top defense against the run.
"We were just clicking on all cylinders," said Davis, who had 110 yards, including scoring runs of 2, 21 and 1 yard.
The Gamecocks hadn't been beaten this badly at Williams-Brice Stadium since a 37-14 win by Alabama in coach Steve Spurrier's debut season of 2005.
"We didn't have much tonight," Spurrier said. "The way we played, you wonder how we won six games already this year."
To make it seven, South Carolina will have to win at Florida where it's 0-12.
"The only thing we can do now is regroup, and try to improve and give ourselves a chance to win next week," Spurrier said.
Arkansas brought the country's second-best air attack and the league's top passer in Mallett into Williams-Brice. The Razorbacks were missing injured receiver Greg Childs, out for the season with a knee injury, but it didn't slow down Mallett. He got things started with a 4-yard TD pass to Cobi Hamilton, who moved into Childs' spot and caught seven passes for 111 yards.
Then it was Davis' turn. The sophomore continually eluded defenders and tied his career high for touchdowns set last month against Ole Miss.
And kicker Zach Hocker hit a career-long 51 yard field goal, the Razorbacks longest since 1992.
Spurrier said when Mallett saw the way Gamecocks defensive backs played the past month -- this was the fourth time in five games they allowed 300 passing yards -- he'd lick his chops.
South Carolina's head ball coach wasn't too far off.
Mallett wasted little time torching the Gamecocks secondary. He went 3 of 4 for 50 yards on the Razorbacks opening drive, ending with Hamilton's touchdown.
In the second quarter, Mallett launched a 57-yard throw to a falling Jarius Wright -- he easily got behind cornerback C.C. Whitlock -- to set up Davis' first rushing TD from 2 yards out.
When the Gamecocks didn't come close on a fake punt try after snapping to upback Dalton Wilson, Mallett and the Hogs were at it again. Mallett used passes of 6 yards to Hamilton and 11 yards to tight end D.J. Williams to set up a 21-yard scoring run along the sidelines by Davis for a 24-7 lead.
"It's not easy now. We're a good football team," Mallett said. "I think people overlook us. We lost to, what, two No. 1 teams?"
The Razorbacks defeats were to then top-ranked Alabama and current No. 3 Auburn.
Mallett said Davis' punch from the backfield enhances Arkansas' offense.
"We got the pass when we wanted, we got the run when we wanted," Davis added. "We had a good flow today."
It didn't help that South Carolina's defense played without starting cornerback Chris Culliver, who hurt his shoulder last week against Tennessee and is out for the year. Spurrier had hoped his secondary would show more fire in disrupting receivers, but it didn't happen in the opening half as Mallett had 213 yards passing by the break.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Knile Davis scored twice and the Razorbacks took a 24-10 lead into halftime.
Gameball goes to... Davis, who tied his career high with three touchdowns and had 111 yards rushing.
Stat of the game... 41-20. The 21-point margin is the worst home loss for South Carolina since 2005.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-13||5-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|TD||10:19||Cobi Hamilton 4 Yd Pass From Ryan Mallett (Zach Hocker Kick)||7||0|
|TD||05:09||Tori Gurley 4 Yd Pass From Stephen Garcia (Spencer Lanning Kick)||7||7|
|FG||10:32||Zach Hocker 41 Yd||10||7|
|TD||06:33||Knile Davis 2 Yd Run (Zach Hocker Kick)||17||7|
|TD||01:57||Knile Davis 21 Yd Run (Zach Hocker Kick)||24||7|
|FG||00:00||Spencer Lanning 29 Yd||24||10|
|TD||05:39||Knile Davis 1 Yd Run (Zach Hocker Kick)||31||10|
|FG||01:18||Zach Hocker 51 Yd||34||10|
|TD||11:10||Ryan Mallett 1 Yd Run (Zach Hocker Kick)||41||10|
|FG||05:35||Spencer Lanning 31 Yd||41||13|
|TD||03:52||Byron McKnight 1 Yd Fumble Return (Spencer Lanning Kick)||41||20|
Stephen Garcia has passed Phil Petty and Anthony Wright to move into 4th all-time in career passing yards in South Carolina history.
Knile Davis has 2 Rush TD for Arkansas. He has 7 rushing TD in his last 3 games. In 18 previous games in which he had a rushing attempt, he had a combined 5 TD.
ESPN Stats & Information