Arkansas 26, S. Carolina 20

Darren McFadden rushed for a career-high 219 yards, Marcus Monk has a career-high 192 yards receiving, back-up quarterback Casey Dick plays well and Darius Vinnett comes up with a key late interception as Arkansas holds off South Carolina 26-20 in a key win Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

The stated intention was to go to South Carolina and win a football game.

Mission accomplished – but just barely.

Sophomore tailback Darren McFadden topped the 1,000 mark by rushing for a career-high 213 yards, Marcus Monk had a career-high 192 yards receiving and Darius Vinnett had a key interception late as the visiting No. 12 Razorbacks won their eighth straight by holding off South Carolina 26-20 before a sellout crowd at Williams-Brice Stadium.

"When you go on the road and come into this environment and you win one like that," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said, "it is as total team effort and it is the greatest feeling in the world to be in this locker room. These 18, 19 and 20-year olds - we've got some good young men on this team. I'm telling you they have great heart and they layed it on the line today. I am just very, very proud of them."

Back-up quarterback Casey Dick played all but the first series for Arkansas (8-1, 5-0) as the Razorbacks remained the SEC's only unbeaten squad and thus the leader in the league's Western Division.

The game was not sealed until Darius Vinnett - who has battled injuries all year - intecepted a late pass and Arkansas did not give the ball back for the final five minutes.

"(UA defensive coordinator) Reggie (Herring) put them in zone and Darius Vinnett played the quarterback's eyes perfectly," Nutt said. "Man did we need him to come back this week."

It set up a huge home game next Saturday with Tennessee, who lost to visiting LSU 28-24 when the Tigers rallied from behind for a late score.

Arkansas lost safety Michael Grant with a knee injury and had to play the last series without McFadden, who suffered a high ankle sprain.

"This was a costly win," Nutt said. "When you lose a Michael Grant the way he has been playing and Darren -hopefully he is not too bad - but you lose those two guys and you don't have them at the end of the game you are nervous."

Dick, who was 11-of-19 for 228 yards with a touchdown an and interception, relieved true freshman starter Mitch Mustain and had led Arkansas to a 26-6 just minutes into the third quarter.

But at that point South Carolina benched starter Syvelle Newton and inserted former starter Blake Mitchell – who would finish the night 13-1of-17 for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns- and he put a jolt into the home team's offense.

Mitchell shredded the Arkansas defense on his first drive – a 9-play, 92-yard march that culminated in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Kenny McKinley.

Ryan Succop's PAT closed the gap to 26-13 with 6:49 left in the third quarter.

Arkansas appeared poised to take its 20-point lead back, but Dick's pass went off Monk's hands and was intercepted in the end zone by Charles Thomas.

That allowed for a 9-play 99-yard drive by the Gamecocks with Mitchell again throwing a touchdown pass, this one the result of a spectacular catch by Sidney Rice to cut it to 26-20 with 13:50 left in the game.

Arkansas' Jeremy Davis missed a 41-yard field goal giving South Carolina a chance to take the lead, but Vinnett – who has battled injuries all season – picked off Mitchell.

The Razorbacks, who had 495 yards total offense, then kept the ball the final five minutes of the game with a Dick completion to Monk basically ending all suspense.

The game started ominously when starting quarterback Mitch Mustain's third down pass was high and intercepted by Captain Munnerlyn at the South Carolina 46.

South Carolina took advantage of the theft by getting into position for Succop to kick a 34-yard field goal to put the homestanding Gamecocks up 3-0 with 7:03 left in the opening quarter.

Dick replaced Mustain after the freshman threw the first-series pick and promptly led his team to a go-ahead touchdown as Arkansas raced 75 yards in just four plays and a little over two minutes of clock time.

The final two plays found Dick hitting Monk for a 18-yard gain and then McFadden using key blocks by Peyton Hillis and Damian Williams and outracing everyone else for a 43-yard touchdown run.

Jeremy Davis' PAT boosted Arkansas ahead 7-3 with 4:37 left remaining in the first quarter.

Soon afterwards it was McFadden again, covering the final 14 yards on a draw play to cap a 6-play, 68-yard jaunt with Davis' PAT true again and sending the Razorbacks ahead 14-3 less than a minute into the second quarter.

That drive took just under three minutes with McFadden's 29-yard run and Monk's 37-yard reception from Dick the key plays.

Succop, one of the nation's leading placekicker and punters, was involved in the next two scoring plays – albeit one good and one bad.

His 37-yard field goal cut it to 14-6 with 9:19 showing on the clock, but was a downer for the Gamecocks after they had appeared to score a touchdown but Rice was called for offensive interference on Chris Houston.

When he lined up to punt after South Carolina's next possession, Arkansas took advantage of having five rushers to four blockers and Anthony Brown stormed in for a block.

Although Arkansas couldn't get the recovery in the end zone for what would have been a touchdown, they did pick up points on the safety to make it 16-6 with 5:44 showing before intermission.

The Razorbacks then went to the locker room with a wealth of momentum when Dick's 50-yard Hail Mary pass was hauled in on the bounce by Monk. He made it on into the end zone for a score with just two seconds left on the clock.

Arkansas then took its first possession of the third quarter and covered nearly the length of the field before settling for Davis' 19=yard field goal to go ahead 26-6.



Darren McFadden





Marcus Monk





Gus Malzahn, Houston Nutt





Weston Dacus, Michael Grant




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