Seventh heaven for the USC football team, also known as a seventh win, remains out of reach. The Gamecocks fell to 6-4 with their second straight loss Saturday, a 33-16 whipping at the hands of Arkansas. This one got away in the second half. After a quick USC score on an 80 yard touchdown pass from Stephen Garcia to Alshon Jeffery on the first play of the second half, and a botched extra point, put the Gamecocks up 16-10, the Razorbacks rolled off 23 unanswered points. Quarterback Ryan Mallett finished the day 23-27 passing for 329 yards. His .852 competion percentage is a school record for a game with 20 or more passes attempted. He did not throw an interception. For the third straight game, the Gamecock defense failed to create a turnover.
Garcia passed was 20-34 for 327 yards and the one touchdown to Jeffery. But it was his interception on the second possession of the second half on a fade pattern to Jeffery from the Arkansas 25 that seemed to stamp out the Gamecocks’ hopes for a victory.
Jeffery had another big day with 5 catches for 116 yards and the touchdown catch. That’s his third 100 yard receiving game of the season. Jeffery has 33 catches on the season, 28 in the last five games.
TE Weslye Saunders caught 3 passes for 55 yards but could only watch as twice the Gamecocks had the ball first and goal at the Arkansas six but could only manage one field goal from those possessions.
The Gamecock defense yielded 405 yards, most of that thru the air. Arkansas rushed for just 76 yards. But the defense couldn’t get off the field in the fourth quarter allowing Arkansas to conver 4 of 6 third downs. The Razorbacks were 10-16 in that department for the game. The Gamecocks were without four defensive players who were starters in the opening game…Travian Robertson, Cliff Matthews, Rodney Paulk and Chris Culliver. Their lack of depth has become an issue for assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson.