Gamecocks clobber Razorbacks in Columbia
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's defense scored three touchdowns and Jake Bentley went 16 of 31 for 199 yards and three touchdowns as the Gamecocks beat Arkansas 48-22 on Saturday.
Bentley spread the ball around to nine receivers as South Carolina (4-2, 2-2 Southeastern) beat a team from the SEC West for the first time since 2013.
After a 75-yard touchdown drive by Arkansas (2-3, 0-2) tied it at 10 early in the second quarter, the Razorbacks gained just 48 yards in their next 18 plays. Those plays included an Austin Allen interception Skai Moore returned 34 yards for a TD and an Allen fumble that TJ Brunson returned 74 yards for a score.
"Everything disintegrated right in front of us," Arkansas coach Brett Bielema said.
South Carolina's offense clicked, too. The Gamecocks gained 358 yards, scoring on five of eight possessions in the final three quarters. Bentley was sacked just once, a week after the offense line allowed seven sacks in a loss to Texas A&M.
The sophomore quarterback said his defense scoring touchdowns made it much easier on the offense.
"It takes the pressure off of us. Their confidence is through the roof," Bentley said.
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, known for his defenses, said he has never seen a game with three defensive touchdowns.
Arkansas: Bielema is now 10-24 against SEC teams in his five years at Arkansas ... Arkansas came in averaging 408 yards a game, while South Carolina was the SEC's 12th ranked defense ... Connor Limpert made his first college field goal, a 48-yarder in the first quarter.
South Carolina: It was the Gamecocks' biggest SEC win since the last time they played Arkansas, a 52-7 win in 2013 ... Keisean Nixon had a 45-yard interception returned for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter ... Kicker Parker White continued to struggle from medium to long distance, missing a pair of 49-yard field goals. White did make kicks from 33 and 29 yards and all of his extra points ... Moore's interception was the 13th of his career, one behind Bo Davis' record set in 1971.
The Razorbacks put in freshman quarterback Cole Kelley in the fourth quarter, and the freshman was 8 for 13 for 140 yards and led Arkansas on two touchdown drives. He also threw an interception returned for a score.
Bielema said he only put Kelley in because the team's medical staff told him Allen couldn't pay any more. The coach did not know the extent of the injury or what exactly was wrong with Allen.
Allen was 12 of 24 for 84 yards, a TD and a pick returned for a score in three quarters and remains the starting quarterback, Bielema said.
"If Austin can go, he'll be our guy," the coach said.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks head to No. 1 Alabama next Saturday. Bielema has never beaten the Crimson Tide, losing by an average of 22 points. After that, it's No. 12 Auburn at home.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks head to Tennessee next Saturday.