SETTING THE STAGE No. 18/17 South Carolina wraps up its home Southeastern Conference schedule for 2010 with a visit from the No. 17/19 Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, Nov. 6. Kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium is set for 7:06 p.m. ET with a national television broadcast on ESPN.
The Gamecocks are 6-2 (4-2 SEC) and hold a one-game lead in the SEC East after defeating Tennessee at home on Saturday, 38-24; Carolina put up the most points it has ever scored against the Vols in that game. Arkansas is 6-2 (3-2 SEC) after blasting Vanderbilt at home on Saturday, 49-14.
THE SERIES This marks the 19th game in the series between South Carolina and Arkansas that dates back to 1992, the year both schools joined the Southeastern Conference. Arkansas leads the series, 11-7, but South Carolina holds a 5-4 advantage in games played in Columbia.
Arkansas won last year's meeting 33-16 in Fayetteville. The teams have split the last six meetings in the series with South Carolina winning two out of the last three at home.
QUICK HITS Sophomore WR Alshon Jeffery leads the SEC and is fifth in the nation in receiving yards per game, averaging 116.9 yards per contest. He is also second in the league with 6.5 catches per game. With 158 yards against Vanderbilt, Jeffery moved into the all-time top-10 in career receiving yards at Carolina with 1,698 yards, passing Ira Hillary (1,566) for 10th all-time. He needs 56 yards to pass Troy Williamson for ninth all-time at Carolina. For his effort vs. Tennessee, he was named SEC Tri-Freshman of the Week.
RB Marcus Lattimore has topped the 150-yard mark twice this season, rushing for 182 yards vs. Georgia and 184 vs. Tennessee. He is the first Gamecock to top 150 yards twice in one season since Derek Watson did it twice in 2000.
Lattimore has 13 touchdowns on the season, which equals Sidney Rice (2005) for the South Carolina freshman record. He needs three more scores to tie the all-time single-season touchdown mark (Harold Green, 16 in 1987) and would tie the SEC freshman record with seven more touchdowns (Reggie Cobb, Tennessee - 20 in 1987).
Junior QB Stephen Garcia currently has 5,598 passing yards for his career and would surpass both Phil Petty (5,652) and Anthony Wright (5,681) for fourth on the career passing charts with a 84-yard effort against Arkansas.
QB Stephen Garcia is second in the SEC and fifth in the nation with a pass efficiency rating of 167.96.
The Gamecocks lead the Southeastern Conference and are ranked No. 2 in the nation with 30 sacks (3.75 per game).
Carolina forced four Tennessee turnovers - a season high for a Gamecock opponent - to win the turnover battle for the second time in 2010. Under Spurrier, Carolina is 16-4 when forcing more turnovers than it commits. The Gamecocks had forced just eight turnovers all season before the Tennessee game.
A SOUTH CAROLINA WIN OVER ARKANSAS WOULD...
Clinch at least a share of the SEC Eastern Division title for the first time in school history.
Give South Carolina its seventh straight home victory and its 14th win in 15 home games, dating back to a 27-6 win over Tennessee on Nov. 1, 2008.
Give the Gamecocks their fifth SEC win of the season, guaranteeing a winning SEC record for the fourth time since joining the conference in 1992 (2000, 2001, 2005).
Move South Carolina to 7-2 for the first time under Spurrier and the third time since joining the SEC (2000, 2001), guaranteeing a winning overall record for the 10th time since joining the SEC.
Be South Carolina's third win in four tries against a ranked opponent this season, marking just the third time in school history for the Gamecocks to beat three ranked opponents in the same season (2000, 2001).
Give Steve Spurrier his 42nd win at Carolina, tying him with Paul Dietzel for third all-time in school history.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT: ARKANSAS The Arkansas Razorbacks, at 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference, are in their third year under head coach Bobby Petrino. Arkansas will be the fourth ranked opponent that South Carolina has faced this season; two of the previous three have also been from the SEC Western Division (#1 Alabama, #17/14 Auburn). Last year, Arkansas finished 8-5 overall (3-5 SEC) and defeated East Carolina 20-17 in the Liberty Bowl.
GAMECOCKS AND RAZORBACKS This is the 19th all-time meeting between South Carolina and Arkansas. The Razorbacks hold an 11-7 advantage in the all-time series, but the Gamecocks are 5-4 in games played in Columbia. Arkansas leads 7-1 in road meetings (4-1 in Fayetteville; 3-1 in Little Rock).
South Carolina won the last meeting in Columbia, 34-21, on Nov. 8, 2008. The teams have split the last six meetings with each going 2-1 on their respective home fields.
The teams first met in 1992, the first year for both teams in the Southeastern Conference. Arkansas has been South Carolina's permanent opponent from the SEC Western Division ever since.
TIES WITH ARKANSAS Neither South Carolina nor Arkansas have any players on the active roster from the other's home state. This is the first time this season that has happened for South Carolina.
Carolina assistant head coach Ellis Johnson served a brief stint on Bobby Petrino's staff at Arkansas in December 2007 and January 2008 before joining the Gamecocks on Jan. 24, 2008.
Gamecock defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward was an assistant coach at Arkansas during the 2008 season, serving as the secondary coach for the Razorbacks.
Lou Holtz is the only person to have served as head coach at both Arkansas and South Carolina. He was head coach of the Razorbacks from 1977-1983 and led the Gamecocks from 1999-2004.
SPURRIER VS. ARKANSAS South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier owns a 5-3 career record against Arkansas, including a 2-3 mark as head coach at Carolina. He is 2-2 in Fayetteville (wins by scores of 42-7 in 1996 and 14-10 in 2005; losses of 48-36 in 2007 and 33-16 in 2009), 1-1 in Columbia (34-21 win in 2008 after a 26-20 loss in 2006) 1-0 in Gainesville (56-7 in 1997) and 1-0 in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta (34-3 in 1995).
SPURRIER VS. PETRINO Steve Spurrier is 1-1 all-time against Bobby Petrino as a head coach. The two meetings have come in each of the last two seasons with each coach winning at home. Spurrier's Gamecocks beat Petrino's Razorbacks 34-21 in 2008, and Arkansas took a 33-16 victory in Fayetteville in 2009.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE The Gamecocks have an all-time record of 251-177-14 (.584)at Williams-Brice Stadium since its original construction as Carolina Stadium in 1934. Under Steve Spurrier, the Gamecocks are 27-12 (.692) on their home field. South Carolina has won six in a row at home and 13 of its last 14, dating back to a victory over Tennessee on Nov. 1, 2008. In that 14-game stretch, Carolina has outscored its opponents 410-227, with an average margin of victory of 13.1 points per game. The Gamecocks are still well short of the school-record home winning streak, which spanned 13 games over parts of three seasons from 1986-88.
GAMECOCKS IN THE POLLS South Carolina is ranked in this week's Associated Press Poll and USA Today Coaches Poll for the ninth consecutive week. Only two other times in school history have the Gamecocks stayed in the polls for that many straight editions:
The Gamecocks appeared at No. 19 in the AP poll the week of Oct. 31, 1987, then proceeded to defeat NC State 48-0. Carolina climbed as high as No. 8 before losing the regular-season finale to No. 2 Miami, then dropping a 30-13 decision to No. 7 LSU in the Gator Bowl; Carolina finished 15th in the final poll. The Gamecocks were then ranked No. 19 in the 1988 preseason ranking and stayed in the poll nine straight weeks until a 59-0 loss at Florida State on Nov. 5, 1988. Total weeks in the rankings: 18.
After defeating Ohio State in the 2001 Outback Bowl, Carolina finished at No. 19 in the final AP poll of 2000. The Gamecocks then stayed in the rankings every week of the 2001 season, climbing as high as No. 9 in the polls and finishing at No. 13 after another defeat of the Buckeyes in Tampa. Carolina was then ranked in the first two polls of the 2002 season before a 34-21 loss at Virginia dropped them from the rankings. Total weeks in the rankings: 18.
THE 100 CLUB In its 21-7 victory at Vanderbilt, South Carolina had a player rush for 100 yards and two players receive for 100 yards in the same game for the first time in school history. RB Brian Maddox came off the bench to rack up 146 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown, while WR Alshon Jeffery caught nine passes for 155 yards - including a show-stopping 72-yard touchdown - and WR Tori Gurley shattered his previous career highs wiith a school-record 14 catches for 112 yards and a score.
One other time this season, Carolina has had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game. Against Georgia, RB Marcus Lattimore carried 37 times for 182 yards while WR Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 103 yards.
Jeffery has topped the 100-yard receiving mark five times this year, with a career- and season-best coming with 192 yards at Auburn. Lattimore has two 100-yard games - 182 vs. Georgia and 184 vs. Tennessee - and Maddox and Gurley have one apiece.
WINNING MORE OFTEN With the win over Tennessee to improve to 6-2, the Gamecocks have assured themselves of posting seven consecutive seasons of at least a .500 record. Previously, the Gamecocks went 6-5 in 2004, 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 6-6 in 2007, and 7-6 in both 2008 and 2009. The team has now equaled a school-record stretch from 1928-34 in which the Gamecocks had seven straight seasons at .500 or better.
OPENING STATEMENT South Carolina has been at its best in the first half, outscoring opponents 145-65 in the first two quarters, including a 70-19 edge in the opening stanza. The Vanderbilt and Tennessee games mark the only two times this season that the Gamecocks have failed to both score in the first quarter and lead at the half. This is a stark contrast from last season, when the Gamecocks were outscored 162-134 in the opening half, including an 81-65 deficit in the first quarter. In 2009, the Gamecocks' best quarter was the third as they held an 87-39 scoring advantage; this year, the Gamecocks have controlled the third quarter by a 55-36 count.
GAMECOCKS AS A RANKED TEAM Under Steve Spurrier, the Gamecocks have been a ranked team heading into 22 contests. Carolina is 11-11 in those opportunities when appearing in the national rankings. In home games, Carolina is 9-3 when ranked under Spurrier, including a 6-0 mark at home over the last two seasons.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: NOV. 7, 2009 Ryan Mallett went 23 of 27 for 329 yards to lead Arkansas to a 33-16 victory over South Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 7. Mallett was 12 of 13 in the second half, and the Razorbacks scored 23 unanswered points to finish the game. D.J. Williams caught seven passes for 137 yards for the Razorbacks, including a 69-yard reception near the end of the first half that set up an important field goal. Stephen Garcia passed for 327 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Gamecocks. South Carolina scored on its first play of the second half when Garcia threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, but it was all downhill from there for the Gamecocks. First, they botched the extra point. Then, Arkansas took a 17-16 lead on Mallett's 1-yard scoring run. Jerell Norton intercepted Garcia in the end zone on South Carolina's next possession, and Broderick Green put Arkansas ahead by eight with a 2-yard touchdown run. Less than 90 seconds later, the Razorbacks added a safety on a play that began at the South Carolina 32. A shotgun snap sailed past Garcia, and although the quarterback tried to fall on the ball near his own 5, it skipped into the end zone. South Carolina recovered, but the two points gave Arkansas a 26-16 advantage. Green added a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:31 left in the fourth quarter.