The sophomore standout gave 30 yards to the Razorbacks with penalties on back-to-back plays for a horse collar tackle and hitting a defenseless player.
But then he took all that away with a 69-yard interception ofTyler Wilson that he took to the house, put his team up three touchdowns and effectively ended any drama left in the game.
"We got up 21 and that sort of deflated Arkansas it seemed like," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said.
It was that kind of day once again this season for the Razorbacks, who lost 38-20 to the Gamecocks before 78,722 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium.
"Give South Carolina credit," Arkansas head coach John L. Smith said. "They are good, an awful good football team and they didn't make any mistakes or at least few compared to us. We made a lot of mistakes the first half. We had a chance, but we just stubbed our toe and made mistakes.
"Then we came out in the second half and I think the pick six really hurt us," Smith added. "It was a game of mistakes. Our young guys played hard and they are going to learn a lot from this, which they have to."
South Carolina (8-2, 6-2) ended a three-game losing streak – all double-digit losses - to Arkansas (4-6, 2-4), which had beaten eight straight SEC Eastern teams going into Saturday's contest.
It was also only the Gamecocks' second win in the last seven games against Arkansas.
"It was a big win for us," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "It has been a long time since we beat them. I think Bush was the president."
The Gamecocks were playing their first game without star tailback Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago.
Spurrier knows Arkansas is facing obstacles this season.
"We didn't play all that super," Spurrier said. "Arkansas – as we know – has got some issues. They don't know who their coach is going to be next year. That's hard for the players, that's hard for the coaching staff there. I feel for those guys. They have some good players and a lot of them played well. Hopefully they can win one or two of their last couple."
If the defensive play by Swearinger – after which he tossed the football into the stands for a third penalty on the series - didn't epitomize the Arkansas season, another South Carolina play did on offense.
The Gamecocks decided to go on fourth down from the Arkansas 42 with a 14-10 lead and just under two minutes left in the half.
The play call resulted in a 42-yard touchdown pass from Connor Shaw to a wide open Bruce Ellington and a 21-10 lead with 1:30 left before intermission.
The win ended sluggish spell for the Gamecocks, who started the season 6-0 before losing two straight games and then barely edging Tennessee 38-35.
"It's hard to lose when your kicking game is solid and you get a defensive score," said Spurrier, whose defense was led by Swearinger's 13 tackles.
Shaw finished the day 14 of 22 passing for 272 yards and also ran for a touchdown on a day when South Carolina had just a 383-360 total offensive advantage.
"Arkansas' defense is not one of the best in the conference," Spurrier said. "In fact, it's at the bottom so we should score 35 to 40 points."
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson had South Carolina defensive end superstar Jadeveon Clowney and other Gamecock defenders in his face all day and was sacked four times.
He finished the day 26 of 41 for 277 yards with two touchdown passes and the two interceptions.
Wilson said he and senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton had a miscommunication on the pick six.
"It's an option route," Wilson said. "Cobi can go in or out. I kind of anticipated him going out. I've just got to sit on it a little longer and make sure I know what he's doing there."
Wilson – who remained in the entire game – was one of three Razorbacks to set records on the day.
He now has the most completions for a quarterback in an Arkansas career with 539 – surpassing Clint Stoerner's 528.
Senior wideout Cobi Hamilton – who had four catches for 72 yards on Saturday – now has the single season marks for most catches and yards (1,149) in school history.
In addition, junior kicker Zach Hocker is now the all-time leading scorer as far as kickers go with 285 points to break Steve Little's mark of 280.
Freshman Jonathan Williams led Arkansas' rushing attack with seven carries for 61 yards while Dennis Johnson added 11 totes for 44 yards and Nate Holmes saw his first action in the backfield while having three carries and 13 yards.
Johnson, replaced by Holmes on kickoff returns, moved into second on the school's list for all-purpose yards by passing Felix Jones during the game.
MeKale McKay had three catches for 49 yards.
Arkansas started a pair of true freshman linebackers in A.J. Turner and Otha Peters – and Shaw took advantage of them by hooking up with three tight ends on the Gamecocks' first scoring possession of the game.
His 29-yard toss to a wide open Jerell Adams cashed in 10-play, 77-yard drive and Adams Yates' PAT made it 7-0 with 5:47 left in the first quarter.
"I think as a veteran quarterback you have to recognize that and take advantage of it," Shaw said.
Arkansas looked ready to tie it, but Dennis Johnson's fumble at the five cost the Razorbacks that chance.
They did respond to tie it 7-7 on their next with Wilson delivering a 7-yard touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher right before being decked by Clowney.
It was Hatcher's first career catch and he joined walk on tight end Alex Voelzke as players this season whose first career catches were scoring passes.
South Carolina ripped right back down the field with Shaw's 10-yard touchdown run on third down giving the Gamecocks the lead back.
The fourth down TD pass had it 21-10 by halftime and then the Gamecocks added a field goal early in the third to quarter to push it to 24-10.
Swearinger's pick six extended that lead to 31-10 before Arkansas mounted a drive midway through the third quarter.
Smith chose to have Hocker kick a 20-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 31-13 instead of going for it on fourth down.
"There was still six or seven minutes left in the third quarter so there was a lot of football left," Smith said. "I just wanted to get something positive and try to get some momentum going there."
The final two scores of the game came on a touchdown run by South Carolina's Mike Davis and Wilson's scoring toss with 39 seconds left to Demetrius Wilson – his first career touchdown catch.
Peters led the defensive charts with eight tackles while Turner and Trey Flowers both had six tackles.
"I commend them," Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith said. " Otha Peters and A.J. turner, they stepped up filling in for Terrell Williams. We just gave up those big plays and that's what got us today. We've got to move forward and just go back to the drawing board and just get ready for Mississippi State."
Chris Smith chases Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.
Cobi Hamilton tries to break past Carolina's Victor Hampton.
Tyler Wilson fires a pass.
Dennis Johnson looks for room on a sweep.
Demetrius Wilson hauls in a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
Keon Hatcher celebrates his first career touchdown with teammates Alvin Bailey and Jason Peacock.
Rohan Gaines breaks up a pass to USC's Bruce Ellington.
Dennis Johnson busts through a group of Gamecocks on a carry in the fourth quarter.
Jonathan Williams breaks tackles on a carry in the third quarter.
Photos by Marc F. Henning, Hawgs Illustrated