Gamecocks Roast Hogs, 27-7

Derek Watson rushed for 136 yards on 17 carries to lead South Carolina's quick-strike offense as the 24th-ranked Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) earned a 27-7 win over Arkansas (4-2, 1-2 SEC) Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

A crowd of 81,935 and a Jefferson-Pilot Sports television audience watched as the Gamecocks – one year removed from an 0-11 season – earned bowl eligibility and gave head coach Lou Holtz his first victory over the team he coached from 1977 to 1983.
 
The loss extended to seven Arkansas' winless streak in SEC road games. "We are getting to thinking we are a little bit better than our players think we are," Holtz told the media following the game.
 
Quarterback Phil Petty directed a Gamecock offense whose four touchdowns drives consisted of three three-play drives and a five-play drive and averaged 79 seconds. Petty completed 12 of 21 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. After a scoreless first quarter for both teams, South Carolina scored on its first two possessions of the second quarter. Petty connected with Brian Scott on a 23-yard touchdown pass for USC's first score and found Jermale Kelly for a 13-yard touchdown on Carolina's next possession. Reid Bethea missed the conversion kick following the second touchdown and USC took a 13-0 lead into halftime.
 
"We had a good week of practice," Kelly said. "This was a special game for Coach Holtz and we wanted to win it for him."
 
The Razorbacks were their own worst enemy in the second half. With 9:24 to play in the third quarter, UA's Richard Smith muffed a punt return and South Carolina recovered at the Arkansas 37-yard line. Three plays later, Andrew Pinnock gave the Gamecocks a 20-0 lead with a 13-yard touchdown run. "I was determined to get in the end zone," Pinnock said of his run. "The offensive line came through and opened up a huge hole for me."
 
With UA starting quarterback Robby Hampton sidelined by a sprained thumb, Freshman Zak Clark guided the Hogs to the USC five-yard line on their next possession before the Gamecocks' Cleveland Pinkney stripped the ball from UA tailback Fred Talley and USC's Andre Goodman recovered.
 
South Carolina again wasted no time capitalizing on the miscue as two plays later Watson raced 68 yards for the Gamecocks' fourth and final touchdown. "Once we went up 13-0, we played opportunistic football," Holtz said. "We weren't trying to impress anybody, just get a win."
 
The Razorbacks avoided the shutout with a 16-play, 59-yard touchdown drive to open the fourth quarter that saw three different UA quarterbacks under center. Clark suffered a sprained left ankle seven plays into the drive and was relieved by Jared McBride, who lasted just two plays before spraining his left knee.
 
Hampton returned to the game to guide the final five plays of the drive, capped by Brandon Holmes' nine-yard scoring run. Holmes led the Hogs with 58 rushing yards on a career-high 17 carries in his first collegiate start.
 
"We are younger and they are much better than last year," Hampton said, comparing the game to last year's 48-14 Arkansas win in Little Rock, Ark. "We needed this game today and we weren't able to do the things we needed to do. We made too many mental mistakes." "We played a good football team," UA head coach Houston Nutt said. "You have to give South Carolina credit. They executed really well. We weren't good enough to overcome our mistakes."
 
South Carolina will travel to Nashville, Tenn., to face Vanderbilt next week while Arkansas will try to take advantage of an open date to prepare for their Oct. 28 trip to Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium, site of the Hogs' last SEC road win on Oct. 31, 1998.

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