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Razorbacks Hold on to Beat USC 44-28

10:45 PM, Nov 5, 2011   |    comments
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Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson (8) passes against USC on Nov. 5, 2011. (Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Tyler Wilson threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns as No. 8 Arkansas held on for a 44-28 win over No. 10 South Carolina on Saturday.

Jarius Wright added four catches for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Dennis Johnson had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Razorbacks, who won their fifth straight.

Arkansas (8-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) outgained the Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2) 435-207, but a pair of missed field goals and key dropped passes kept the Razorbacks from securing the win until late.

The Razorbacks led 24-14 at halftime, but South Carolina pulled within 30-28 early in the fourth quarter on a touchdown run by quarterback Connor Shaw.

Arkansas answered with a pair of late touchdown runs by Ronnie Wingo and Broderick Green to pull away and keep their hopes alive for a return trip to a BCS bowl game.

Shaw, playing in his third game since former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia was dismissed from the team, struggled throughout against a Razorbacks defense that had five sacks. The sophomore was finally knocked out of the game late after Arkansas' Jake Bequette sacked him for the third time.

The Gamecocks had scored 14 points in each of their last two games, both wins, and they continued to struggle offensively against the Razorbacks - gaining only 49 yards on 25 plays at halftime.

Despite the troubles, South Carolina stayed within striking distance thanks to big plays and Arkansas' own offensive woes. Devin Taylor had a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown to give the Gamecocks a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter, and Shaw had a pair of second-half touchdown runs.

Shaw led South Carolina with 24 yards rushing on 14 carries. Freshman running back Brandon Wilds, who had 137 yards last week in his first start following a season-ending injury to Marcus Lattimore, was held to 21 yards on 10 carries.

Arkansas moved the ball consistently against the SEC's third-best defense, but it continually bogged down near the goal line. The Razorbacks were held to five field goal attempts, but kicker Zach Hocker missed a pair in the first half.

His second miss was with 4 seconds remaining in the half, and it followed a dropped pass in the end zone by Arkansas' Cobi Hamilton.

Still, after trailing 14-10, the normally slow-starting Razorbacks likely weren't complaining too much about the 24-14 halftime lead. They had been outscored 87-59 in the first half of their last four games, all wins.

Wilson answered Taylor's interception return with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Wright on Arkansas' first play following the South Carolina score to go up 17-14. The junior quarterback later found Wright again for a 16-yard touchdown before halftime.

It was the second time the Razorbacks answered an Gamecocks' score on the first play. The first came when Johnson followed Wild's first-quarter touchdown run with his kickoff return. It was Johnson's third kickoff return for a touchdown of his career, his first since the opening game of the 2009 season against Missouri State.

 

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