NOTEBOOK: Gamecocks unable to keep up

South Carolina rarely has fun when it travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas. Saturday was no different, as the Razorbacks had USC playing on its heels from the opening kickoff. The Gamecocks were on the losing end of a 44-28 decision. They struggled offensively, defensively and on special teams in the Southeastern Conference encounter between teams ranked nationally in the top 10 in the nation.

"They played about like they did last year against us when they scored 41," USC coach Steve Spurrier said of Arkansas. "Of course we helped them a lot (Sat.) night, and they helped us some with the dropped passes. We are 7-2 and looking forward to the Florida game this week. We realize that we really need to play well. We have some guys too banged up, but the guys who are going to play need to play well. Our special teams last night were not very good at all. They allowed the kickoff return and roughed the punter the one time they punted. I can't remember another game where the other team did not officially have a punt until last night."

USC managed only 207 yards of total offense and just 47 in the first half as the team felt the loss of sophomore All-American running back Marcus Lattimore for the first time. The Gamecocks rushed for only 79 yards on 33 carries with Shaw leading the way with 24 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts.

Shaw was forced to watch the last few plays of the game from the bench, however, after suffering a concussion. His status for Saturday's SEC home game against Florida is uncertain.

The Gamecocks also lost junior safety DeVonte Holloman late in the game with a concussion. He is also listed as questionable. The injuries are beginning to mount as senior Spur Antonio Allen, who Spurrier has repeatedly said played at an All-American level this season. Although he should be back, it is not a certainty.

"We had a couple of concussions with Connor Shaw and DeVonte Holloman," said Spurrier. "According to our trainer, they will be tested during the week and a decision will be Wednesday or Thursday. I don't think either one of them will practice Monday or Tuesday. They check them as they go through the week. Other than that, we had some bumps and bruises, not too bad. The other guys should be ready to go. Hopefully Antonio Allen will be back. We just have to wait and see if that muscle spasm in his neck will go away or not. Obviously we are not near as good defensively when he is not in there."


--Freshman running back ran wild a week ago against Tennessee picking up 137 yards on 20 rushes against Tennessee. That all changed against Arkansas as he managed only 21 yards on 10 carries. Unlike the Volunteers who opted to make a concerted effort to stop the pass, the Razorbacks stacked the box to make sure anything yards he got would be earned. The game did mark the first time junior Kenny Miles has received significant playing time since injuring his wrist earlier in the season. Although rushed for only nine yards in two carries, he appeared healthy. He also caught two passes for 30 yards and threw key blocks and appears set to possibly equal Wilds in playing time against Florida.

--Junior defensive end Devin Taylor picked up his second career touchdown, when he intercepted a Tyler Wilson pass and returned it 48 yards for a score. He had a 24-yard interception return against Tennessee in 2010. It marked the six touchdown scored by the South Carolina defense this season. Taylor finished the game with three tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He also had a sack and broke up a pass.

--Junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery caught three passes for 19 yards which allowed him to move past Sterling Sharpe for second in all-time receptions at USC with 170 catches. He now trails only Kenny McKinley who caught 207 passes as a Gamecock. He is also second to McKinley in career receiving yards. He has 2,767, while McKinley has 2,781.

--The 68-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Wilson to Jarius Wright was the longest play from scrimmage given up by USC this season. The previous long was 33 yards. The 98-yard kickoff return by Arkansas Dennis Johnson was the first for a score given up by the Gamecocks since the 2010 campaign. USC freshman Victory Hampton's 55-yard kickoff return was the longest of the season for the team. He finished with six kick returns for 168 yards but also fumbled a kickoff late in the game.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Freshman wide receiver Bruce Ellington was limited due to an injured hamstring against Tennessee, but appeared back to full strength against Arkansas as he played both wide receiver and quarterback in the `Wildcat' offense. With quarterback Connor Shaw potentially missing the game with a concussion, his role could be expanded when the Gamecocks take on Florida, Saturday.

LOOKING GOOD: There was little the USC coaching staff could smile about as the Gamecocks were out-played in every phase of the game by Arkansas. The defensive line continued to play relatively well as the Razorbacks rushed for only 136 yards.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The offensive line continued to regress as it was called for numerous procedure penalties, while struggling to get anyone blocked. Sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw was running for his life most of the game and was finally knocked out of competition when he suffered a concussion on a sack.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It really isn't a whole bunch different than it has been most of the year. We have not been able to drop back and stand there quite like the Arkansas guy was able to do last night. That is just the way it is. We know that. We have to mix the run and throw quickly a little bit more. At times when we did have protection we didn't execute very well. It is a combination of all of us. Our guys are playing OK." -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier on the play of his offensive line.



--DE Devin Taylor has been overshadowed by Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney at the position most of the season. The 2010 All-SEC performer has been coming on strong of late, however, as he displayed both his 6-7 height and athleticism against Arkansas by intercepting a Tyler Wilson pass at close range, then out-running the entire Razorback offense for a 48-yard touchdown.

--CB Victor Hampton, who has played well at cornerback in his first season with the team, returned the second half kickoff 55 yards to put the Gamecocks in position for an early touchdown in his first game in that capacity this season. USC coach Steve Spurrier said Hampton could receive more time there if he can hold on to the football as he fumbled on a return late in the game.

--LT Rokevious Watkins was a pre-season All-SEC selection at right tackle. Since an injury put left tackle Kyle Nunn out for the remainder of the 2011 season, he has been moved to left tackle where he has struggled at times.


--SPUR Antonio Allen missed Saturday's game against Arkansas after suffering a neck injury during practice early in the week. He is expected to return for Saturday's game against Florida if his neck spasms subside.

--SS DeVonte Holloman suffered a concussion late against Arkansas. He will be evaluated later in the week to see if he can play against Florida.

--QB Connor Shaw suffered a concussion late against Arkansas and will also be evaluated later in the week to see if he can play against Florida.. If he is unable to play either redshirt freshman Dylan Thompson will start, or redshirt freshman Bruce Ellington will move in as a quarterback in a `Wildcat' formation.

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