Bahn: Razorbacks Turn In Complete Game, Crush Gamecocks

by Chris Bahn  on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 1:16 am  

(Photo by Mark Wagner)

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fans began pouring out of Williams-Brice Stadium well before the third quarter ended Saturday. It was about that time Arkansas players said they noticed their South Carolina counterparts were showing signs of mental and physical fatigue.

That's when Razorback players knew they had the game won. Before the clock expired and long before the final score read: Arkansas 41, South Carolina 20, Saturday's game was over.

“That’s the best feeling in the world. That’s the point you want to get to every game when they just quit, give up and know they’re going to lose,” tailback Knile Davis said. “That’s a good feeling.”

Davis, who had 110 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, wasn’t alone in his assessment. Other Razorbacks made similar comments in the postgame locker room and who could blame them? Arkansas (7-2, 4-2) had just wrapped up its most complete game of the season. Offense, defense and special teams all played a part in a dominating victory.

Instead of collapsing down the stretch against a Top 25 opponent like they did against Auburn and Alabama, the Razorbacks held strong. They proved capable of winning a game that matters and winning on the road, two significant questions that have lingered over the team all season.

And this wasn’t against Vanderbilt. Though they didn’t look like a championship team on Saturday, the Gamecocks (6-3, 4-3) will play for the SEC East title next week against Florida. Don’t forget this was a team that beat Alabama just a week after the Razorbacks lost to the Crimson Tide at home.

With three games left, this team is clearly playing its best football. Should that continue, it bodes well for the Razorbacks with games remaining against UTEP, Mississippi State and LSU.

“It might be our most complete game all year long,” Razorbacks Coach Bobby Petrino said. “I was real happy about it.”

Petrino should have been pleased. This wasn't just the best game of the year, it was arguably the most impressive Arkansas has played since Petrino took over the program in 2008.

What had the early makings of a shootout turned into something else very quickly. Arkansas and South Carolina were tied at seven to end the first quarter. By halftime the Razorbacks led 24-10 and they put the game away entirely in the third quarter.

Arkansas scored 10 unanswered in the third quarter. First came Davis’ one-yard run and then freshman kicker Zach Hocker continued to impress with his 51-yard field goal. It was the longest field goal in 18 years and ensured only the diehards remained in Williams-Brice.

Players tend to act oblivious to their surroundings, but the scene was impossible to ignore. South Carolina fans were so quiet that when reserve cornerback Greg Gatson intercepted Stephen Garcia, the handful of Razorback fans at the game could be heard chanting “Go Hogs Go.”

When’s the last time the road team’s fans were the loudest thing you could hear in an SEC stadium? That’s how thoroughly dominating the victory was and guys like offensive lineman DeMarcus Love couldn't help but notice.



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