Defensive Domination

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas has had all kinds of trouble stopping opponents, something that is reflected in Southeastern Conference statistics.

The Hogs are last in the SEC in total defense (403.4 yards a game), last against the pass (238.9), ninth against the run (164.6) and eighth in scoring (24 points).

But the Razorbacks (3-4, 1-3 in SEC) have had plenty of success slowing the Gamecocks (5-3, 3-3), surrendering one touchdown and two field goals the past three meetings. Arkansas held the Gamecocks out of the end zone and limited them to 304 yards during the 28-6 win in War Memorial Stadium last November.

"We have played good the last three years against South Carolina defensively," said senior Jeb Huckeba. "I'm not exactly sure if it's one or two things. I think we're just fired up to play that game. Obviously it helps that two of those games were in Little Rock, which is an electric atmosphere and really gives us an advantage.

"That has nothing to do with the game this year. I wish it did."

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said he has mentioned Arkansas' success against South Carolina this week, hoping to help his group bounce back from a difficult October. Huckeba said it would be great if the Hogs could improve their position among SEC statistical categories, but they're concentrating on playing well enough to snap the three-game losing skid.

The Hogs earned a 23-0 win on their last trip to Columbia, S.C., in 2002.

It was the last time Arkansas has recorded a shutout.

"If you look at those last two games, you look at how much they scored on us," said quarterback Matt Jones. "All the credit those last two games goes to our defense. They played tremendous. That really helped our offense.

"When they're getting us turnovers and not letting the opponent score on us, that gives the offense a lot of confidence and we're able to make some plays."

Harris Healing
Receiver Steven Harris got his normal amount of work during the Hogs' 20-14 loss against Georgia on Oct. 23 despite a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. But the senior said that might not have been a good thing.

"I didn't play well because of my knee," Harris said. "It was something where I couldn't catch up with players basically because I couldn't run full speed and it was hard for me to cut.

"In a lot of instances, I don't know if I was helping the team to be out there."

The good news is Harris, who caught one pass for 31 yards against Georgia, believes he'll be back to full speed against South Carolina. Harris is tied with freshman Marcus Monk for the team lead in receptions (21), leads the Hogs in receiving yards (449) and is second in touchdown catches (3).

"It was an MCL sprain so that was 3 to 6 weeks is what they were giving," Harris said. "Obviously, I tried to come back the first week and play the Georgia game. I wasn't 100 percent. It's getting closer to 100 right now and I want to help this team as much as possible."

ESPN? No Thanks
South Carolina coach Lou Holtz said Tuesday that he was approached this summer about moving the Gamecocks-Razorbacks game to Thursday night for the second consecutive season.

"We didn't think three days of preparation for Matt Jones and their offense would be adequate," Holtz said. "Plus, Arkansas would be coming off of an open date. So we decided not to move it."

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said the idea also was presented to him and didn't sound appealing, especially after last season's experience. The Hogs beat Kentucky 71-63 in seven overtimes on Nov. 1 and played the Gamecocks five days later.

Nutt said the scuttled summer plan also asked for Arkansas to move its Sept. 18 game against Louisiana-Monroe to Oct. 30, eliminating the bye week after Georgia.

"It's too hard to come off a game like that and the schedule we had to move this game three days earlier," Nutt said.

Extra Points
Offensive line coach Mike Markuson said he hasn't announced whether Robert Felton or Matt Gilbow will start at right tackle Saturday. Felton got the majority of the first-team work Wednesday, but Markuson said both will play against South Carolina. ... Receiver David Thompson left Wednesday's practice after straining a groin. The sophomore couldn't make sharp cuts after the injury and missed the last half of practice. He'll know more about the injury today. ... Wommack said redshirt freshman Chris Houston will likely start in place of injured sophomore Michael Coe (thigh) at cornerback. Coe will likely miss his second straight game.

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