Gamecocks start life without Lattimore by handling Hogs

Playing their first game since running back Marcus Lattimore’s devastating right knee injury, eighth-ranked South Carolina beat Arkansas 38-20 on Saturday afternoon.

The Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) finished league play by equaling their best-ever SEC record, set last season. With two regular season games and a bowl remaining, they sustained their hopes of matching last year’s program-best 11-2 record. If they beat Wofford next week, they will finish undefeated at home for the first time since 1987.

Arkansas (4-6, 2-4) defeated South Carolina in three straight meetings (by 17, 21 and 16 points) and in five of the teams’ past six matchups.

Lattimore’s replacements are fifth-year senior Kenny Miles and true freshman Mike Davis. Miles ran 14 times for 37 yards. Davis ran 13 times for 53 yards and a two-yard touchdown. Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw picked apart Arkansas’ poor pass defense and completed 14 of 22 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

South Carolina sealed the win with 10:41 left in the third quarter, when free safety D.J. Swearinger returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown, which put USC up 31-10 and negated at least some of Arkansas’ quarterback Tyler Wilson’s success. The pick came on the play after Swearinger was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit personal foul. He celebrated his touchdown by flipping the ball into the student section, drawing another personal foul.

South Carolina led 21-10 at halftime despite a strong performance from Wilson, who completed 14 of 22 passes for 192 yards, and stood firm to deliver a 6-yard touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher, while taking a vicious hit from defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. That pass tied the game 7-7 with 8:12 left in the second quarter.

South Carolina’s Connor Shaw matched Wilson’s first half yardage total while connecting on nine of 15 passes, including touchdowns of 29 yards (for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter) and 42 yards (on fourth down and 5, to go up 21-10 with 1:30 left in the half).

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