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November 4, 2006

Gamecocks can't stop Hawgs' ground game

Experts' blog
Scenes from Saturday
The College Football Wire

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Box score

COLUMBIA, S.C. -Darren McFadden ran for a career-high 219 yards and two touchdowns and Marcus Monk had eight catches for a career-best 192 yards as No. 12 Arkansas beat South Carolina 26-20 on Saturday night.

The Razorbacks (8-1, 5-0 Southeastern) mostly stuck to what has kept them undefeated in the SEC so far - running the ball.

Arkansas rushed for 267 yards to pad their league-leading average of 235 yards a game.

South Carolina's offense got a spark when backup quarterback Blake Mitchell took over to start the second half. The junior completed 15 of 21 passes for 213 yards, leading the Gamecocks (5-4, 3-4) on touchdown drives of 92 and 99 yards and cutting a 20-point deficit to 26-20 early in the fourth quarter. Mitchell had been South Carolina's starter before senior Syvelle Newton took over in the third week.

But Mitchell finally made a mistake, throwing an interception to Darius Vinnett on an under-thrown ball with just over five minutes to go with South Carolina down six and in Arkansas territory.

When the Razorbacks needed to, backup quarterback Casey Dick was able to throw the ball, going 11-for-19 for 228 yards.

All but three of those completions went to Monk, who had the three biggest catches of the game - a 26-yard reception on third-and-10 and a 14-yard catch on third-and-8 to keep the Razorbacks' game-ending drive alive. He also had a 50-yard touchdown reception that bounced off a defender with two seconds to go in the first half.

Dick took over the offense after freshman starter Mitch Mustain threw an interception on Arkansas' first possession.

Felix Jones ran 21 times for 53 yards and McFadden has now gained more than a 1,000 yards in each of his seasons with Arkansas.

Sidney Rice caught seven passes for 126 yards and a touchdown and Kenny McKinley also had seven catches for 87 yards for the Gamecocks.

Arkansas has to win two of its last three games to win the Western Division, although the schedule isn't easy with No. 8 Tennessee next weekend, at an improving Mississippi State, then finishing the regular season against No. 13 LSU. No. 6 Florida has already won the East and a spot in the SEC title game.

An undefeated run through that schedule and the Hogs could make up a lot of ground in the BCS, too. They were 13th this week.

Meanwhile, South Carolina remains a win away from bowl eligibility with an emotional game with Florida coming up as coach Steve Spurrier returns to coach at The Swamp for the first time since leaving the Gators after the 2001 season.

For more coverage of Arkansas, visit HawgSports.com; for more on South Carolina, visit GamecockCentral.com.

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