Gamecocks, Razorbacks meet in real barnyard brawl

Southeastern Conference championship hopes – however slim – will be on the line when No. 10 South Carolina travels to No. 8 Arkansas.

The Razorbacks have won four straight since being dismantled in a 38-14 loss at Alabama on Sept. 24, and they need a win to keep alive any hope of sneaking into the SEC title game.

The Gamecocks remain in the driver’s seat in the SEC East, having won three straight since a 16-13 loss to Auburn on Oct. 1. They are tied with Georgia atop the division but hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bulldogs.

Arkansas leads the all-time series 12-7 and has won seven of nine meetings at home. The Razorbacks won 41-20 last year in Columbia, S.C.

The Gamecocks (7-1, 5-1 SEC) are looking to notch their sixth SEC victory for the first time and stay on track to get back to the conference title game for the second year in a row.

The offense wasn’t quite as sluggish as it might have appeared in last week’s 14-3 win at Tennessee –  the Gamecocks’ first without star running back Marcus Lattimore (knee) – but it wasn’t pretty, either.

Freshman Brandon Wilds filled in well for Lattimore with 137 yards on 28 carries, and the defense held the Volunteers to 186 total yards. South Carolina has won a school-record six straight road games, the fifth-longest current streak in the nation.

The Razorbacks’ (7-1, 3-1 SEC) potent offense, which leads the SEC in passing and ranks second in total offense and third in scoring, had a tough time getting going in last week’s 31-28 victory over Vanderbilt.

Arkansas fell behind by 14 early and had to score the game’s last 14 points to win. The defense was gashed for 222 rushing yards, which is a concern against the Gamecocks, even without Lattimore.

The Razorbacks have won five straight against SEC East opponents, the longest such streak in school history. Arkansas will be without wide receiver/kick returner Marquel Wade, who was suspended one game by the SEC for his hit on Vanderbilt punter Jonathan Krause.

With 167 receptions for 2,748 yards, South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery needs only 33 yards to match Kenny McKinley (2,781) as the school’s all-time leader. He needs three receptions to pass Sterling Sharpe (169) for second all-time, and he needs three touchdown catches to tie Sidney Rice (23) for the school record.

South Carolina has allowed opponents to score first in 11 consecutive games dating to last season. The Gamecocks, though, are 8-3 in those games.

TV: ESPN, 7:15 p.m. LINE: Arkansas -5.5.

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