Gamecock Gamechangers

GamecockAnthem takes a look at the five key players and five biggest plays in its 38-20 win over Arkansas Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.

5. Justice Cunningham

Cunningham had another solid performance on Saturday, hauling in a key pass for a huge gain. On the first drive of the game Carolina was backed up into a 3rd-and-14 on their own 34 when Shaw found Cunningham for a 26-yard completion and a first down. That drive would result in South Carolina's first touchdown of the game. Cunningham finished the game with two catches for 33 yards.

4. Kenny Miles

In the first full game without Marcus Lattimore, Kenny Miles was expected to carry most of the load against Arkansas. Mike Davis is still inexperienced and that showed on one play when Shaw was sacked. Arkansas faked a blitz from the outside, drawing Davis to that side, but the real blitz came from the inside and there was nothing Shaw could do as Davis was just left standing there watching. Miles had a solid performance running and receiving Saturday. He had a few bad runs that resulted in losses, but ended up with a decent 37 yards on the ground, but he added 44 through the air on three receptions, including a 24-yard catch and run. Miles will probably be counted on to put up bigger numbers in the following weeks.

3. Connor Shaw

Shaw wasn't as accurate as he normally is at home, but he put up good numbers and put up big numbers. Shaw completed 14-of-22 passes for 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns. One of the reasons he had some incompletions was from good decisions on his part. Shaw was forced to scramble several times and instead of forcing passes he threw the ball away. Shaw added 10 yards on the ground and a score, but was sacked three times.

2. Bruce Ellington

Ellington turned in his second 100-yard game in as many games with another touchdown. Ellington has been moved to the outside with Ace Sanders moving to the slot and he has put up big numbers since the swap. He finished with five catches for 104 yards and a score. Ellington will have a chance to put up similar numbers the next two weeks.

Player of the Game

D.J. Swearinger

Swearinger was nearly a goat on a drive early in the third quarter. He was the recipient of back-to-back personal fouls that gave Arkansas 30 yards on two plays that gained just nine combined yards. That moved the ball into Carolina territory when Swearinger made a big play. Swearinger finished the game with 13 tackles, one for loss, and an interception.

Plays of the Game

5. Auguste with a beautiful pick

Akeem Auguste has struggled just to get on the field the last two seasons. Battling injury after injury Auguste has finally gotten the opportunity to play some. Early in the fourth quarter with the Razorbacks driving around midfield, Wilson sent one deep down the left sideline. It was overthrown but Auguste was able to reach out and grab it while staying in bounds for a nice interception.

4. Clowney sacks Wilson

Jadeveon Clowney made a point early on to let Tyler Wilson know that the Gamecocks were coming for him. On the second drive of the game, Wilson ran a play action and turned to roll left. That would be a mistake as Clowney was there waiting for him. He grabbed Wilson around the shoulder pads and slung him to the ground with ease. That would be the first of four sacks on the Arkansas quarterback.

3. Adams finds the end zone

Jerell Adams nearly had a touchdown against LSU. On a fourth down play late in the game, Adams caught a pass from Shaw and was initially ruled to be in the end zone, but it was overturned. Saturday Adams made sure he was in the end zone. The freshman ran an inside slant in the middle of the two-deep zone and Shaw found him inside the 10. Adams took it into the end zone for the first touchdown of his career and a 14-7 South Carolina lead.

2. Ellington's key reception

South Carolina decided to be aggressive late in the first half with just a 14-10 lead. They faced a fourth and six from the Razorback 42 yard line with just over a minute left to play. Shaw dropped back, avoided a sack, and found a wide open Ellington for first down yardage. Ellington took the ball cut to the middle of the field to avoid the safety and took it the distance for a 42-yard touchdown to give Carolina a 21-10 lead heading to the locker room.

Play of the game

1. Swearinger with a pick six

As mentioned, D.J. Swearinger was on the wrong end of back-to-back personal fouls that had Arkansas in business. The Razorbacks were in South Carolina territory with a chance to trim the Gamecock lead to seven. That would not happen as Swearinger saved the day with an interception of Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson and raced 69 yards to outrun Wilson and get to the end zone. That gave Carolina a 21 point lead and effectively dashed the hopes of Arkansas pulling an upset.

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