The Razorbacks, behind superstar quarterback Ryan Mallet, gutted the Gamecocks' secondary for 303 passing yards and a touchdown, while pounding a usually stingy rushing defense for 140 yards and four scores.
The Gamecocks must quickly regroup.
This week's game will be the most important game for South Carolina since it joined the SEC in 1992. The Gamecocks travel to Gainesville, Fla., to take on Florida, with the winner claiming the East Division title and a spot in the league championship game in Atlanta.
While the Gamecocks defense struggled Saturday, the offense wasn't much better.
Quarterback Stephen Garcia suffered his worst game of the season, and the running game never got going after freshman running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a sprained left knee in the first quarter.
Although he continued to play, he was ineffective and was eventually pulled by coach Steve Spurrier in an attempt to save him for the Gators.
South Carolina has had little success against the Gators, defeating them only once in Spurrier's tenure and owning an overall 4-23-3 record against them. That includes a 1-19 mark in the last 20 meetings.
"We just need to regroup now," said Spurrier, whose team is ranked 22nd in the AP and USA Today polls. "We need to realize that we were pretty sad (against Arkansas) and we can't get it back. (We have to) regroup and give the Gators a game next week."
The Gamecocks have failed to play at the level achieved when upsetting then-No. 1 Alabama a month ago, going 2-2 since then. The wins have come against Vanderbilt and Tennessee, two struggling teams.
Garcia had his worst game of what has been an impressive season, completing 14 of 29 passes for 161 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. He did lead his team in rushing with 54 yards on seven attempts.
The injury bug also hit the Gamecocks. Junior cornerback C. C. Whitlock and senior left tackle Jarriel King both exited with concussions and probably will not return against Florida. Sophomore center T.J. Johnson left with a sprained left knee and is listed as questionable. His exodus forced South Carolina to burn a redshirt on talented freshman Ronald Patrick, who finished the game at the position.
Freshman backup quarterback Connor Shaw suffered bruised ribs but should be ready to play. Lattimore is expected to start.
--Despite a subpar game, QB Stephen Garcia continues to move up the Gamecocks career passing list. He is fourth with 5,759 yards. He moved ahead of Phil Petty (5,652) and Anthony Wright (5,681) on Saturday.
Saturday's loss was Garcia's third in Williams-Brice Stadium as a starter, all coming against ranked Southeastern Conference teams (No. 13 LSU in 2008, and No. 1 Florida in 2009).
--Sophomore WR Alshon Jeffery became the third player in school history to top the 1,000-mark in receiving yards in a season. He joins former Gamecocks Sidney Rice (1,143 in 2005 and 1,090 in 2006) and Sterling Sharpe (1,106 in 1986). With 99 yards on seven receptions Saturday, Jeffery has 1,034 yards this season.
Jeffery passed Troy Williamson to move into ninth place on the school's career receiving yards list with 1,797. Williamson had 1,754 from 2002-04. Jeffery is also the 15th Carolina performer to record 100 career receptions with 105.
--Saturday's loss marked the first time USC has fallen at home since losing to No. 1 Florida 24-14 on Nov. 14, 2009. The Gamecocks had won six in a row at home and 13 of their last 14.
GAME BALL GOES TO: CB Stephon Gilmore -- The sophomore, considered one of the best players on the team, snapped what had been a three-game slump by leading the Gamecocks in tackles with eight. He also had one of the team's two sacks, forced a fumble and tipped a pass that was intercepted by strong safety DeVonte Holloman.
KEEP AN EYE ON: CB Marty Markett -- With senior Chris Culliver out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, and junior C.C. Whitlock probably unavailable due to a concussion, the redshirt junior walk-on could earn his first career start against Florida. A favorite of coach Steve Spurrier, Markett, who was formerly a member of the track team, garnered four solo tackles against Arkansas in his first significant action this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It caught us off guard. Everybody knows that it didn't mean a whole lot in terms of the Eastern Division, but we wanted to go out and get some momentum going into Florida. Maybe it was a good thing this happened. Maybe we'll learn from this, practice harder and be ready to go into Florida to play for the Eastern Division championship." -- QB Stephen Garcia, on the loss to Arkansas.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: Even on days when it appears South Carolina can do nothing right, sophomore WR Alshon Jeffery shows up. In an attempt to prove he is the top player at his position in a conference loaded with talented performers, he pulled in seven catches for 99 yards and was denied a touchdown on an 18-yard pass play when he was called for offensive interference. He has 59 catches for 1,034 yards and seven touchdowns.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The South Carolina pass defense continues to be the team's Achilles' heel. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett dismantled the Gamecocks, completing 21 of 30 passes for 303 yards and a touchdown. He suffered only one interception.
Opposing teams are averaging 260.6 yards per game through the air. With senior cornerback Chris Culliver out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, and cornerback C.C. Whitlock probably out this week with a concussion, life will not get any easier for the group when it goes on the road to face Eastern Division rival Florida.
ROSTER REPORT: --OT Jarriel King, South Carolina's top offensive lineman, suffered a concussion against Arkansas and could miss the Florida game. If so, he will be replaced by redshirt sophomore Kyle Nunn.
--CB C.C. Whitlock (concussion) could miss the Florida game. If so he likely will be replaced by junior walk-on Marty Markett, a former member of the Gamecock track team, or Akeem Auguste who has played mostly free safety this season.
--RB Marcus Lattimore suffered a sprained knee in the first quarter against Arkansas, but returned to the game and is expected to start against Florida.
--C T.J. Johnson suffered a sprained knee and is questionable for Florida. Freshman Ronald Patrick will take his place if he can't go.
--QB Connor Shaw suffered bruised ribs, but he is expected to be available if needed.
--DE Chaz Sutton continues to miss games with an injured hand. It is too early to know his availability this weekend.
--LB Shaq Wilson is out with a hamstring injury and will redshirt.