Top 5 Arkansas Wins
As we head toward the season, we are doing a series looking at top wins against each of the Gamecocks 2022 opponents. Gamecock Scoop has already looked at the top 5 home openers, and this week we are looking at the top 5 wins vs. Arkansas, SC's week 2 opponent. South Carolina and Arkansas should still be playing annually. The Gamecocks and Razorbacks entered the SEC together in 1992 and met on the gridiron every year from 92 to 2013. They've played one time since 2013. Hopefully, the new SEC scheduling format, whatever it may be, will create more matchups between the two schools. The two schools have played 23 times. Arkansas holds a narrow 13-10 advantage, but the Gamecocks have won the last three contests by a combined 89 points. In preparation for a big September 10th matchup in Fayetteville, we are looking back at Carolina's five finest victories over their SEC twin brother.
#5 2013 52-7 Carolina's Largest Margin of Victory Road SEC Win
The game was not close. Arkansas was in the middle of what would be a winless conference season in Bret Bielema's first season. The Gamecocks were a terrible 60 minutes in Knoxville from playing Auburn in the SEC Championship. Arkansas scored the first points of the game on their opening drive, from there it was all Carolina.
Carolina outclassed the Hogs in every facet of the game. Connor Shaw threw for 219 yards and 3 TDs. Mike Davis rushed for 128 yards and a score, as the Gamecocks out-gained Arkansas 537-248. Arkansas completed four passes all day. South Carolina outpaced Arkansas 32-7 in first downs. The Homecoming beatdown was so lopsided that Steve Spurrier even felt remorseful. "I do feel badly for Arkansas," Spurrier said. "It's no fun getting your butt beat like this, at home on homecoming and all that."
#4 2012 38-20 DJ SWAG
No one probably remembers this game if not for DJ Swearinger. Number 36 in Garnett had a reputation as a headhunter. Carolina had a 24-10 3rd quarter lead when Swearinger was called for a horse-collar tackle giving Arkansas a first down, the very next play the Gamecock safety de-cleated an Arkansas receiver that dared to catch a ball in front of him. DJ was called for a personal foul on the hit. (No targeting or reviews of questionable hits in 2012), his second 15-yard penalty in as many plays. One play later, Swearinger would step in front of a Tyler Wilson pass and return it 69 yards for a touchdown, putting Carolina ahead by a comfortable 31-10 margin. After he crossed the goal line, he threw the football halfway up the student section for his third consecutive play with a 15-yard penalty.
"It was sort of a stress reliever from both of the penalties," Swearinger said of the toss. Bruce Ellington would add five catches for 104 yards and a score.
#3 2005 14-10 Spurrier's Second SEC Road Win in Columbia
This would be Carolina's only win versus Darren McFadden. McFadden would go on to become one of the all-time Gamecock killers. Carolina didn't exactly shut him down in this game, 32 carries and 187 yards, but they did keep him out of the end zone and stuffed him on a pivotal 4th and 2, deep in Carolina territory with 3:40 left the game. McFadden was forced to cut inside due to penetration from Stanley Doughty, where he was met and dropped at the line of scrimmage by Dakota Walker. (Doughty would later file a lawsuit against the NCAA over safety/head injuries).
Somehow Carolina was able to win this game despite being out-gained 356-187 and losing the turnover battle 2-1. Arkansas Head Coach Houston Nutt continued to gamble and continued to come up short as the Hogs would turn the ball over on downs four times on the day. Gamecocks Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix's defense stood tall with a final turnover on downs after Arkansas started a drive with 2:26 left at their own 37 down by 4.
#2 1996 23-17 One Final Win Over Danny Ford in Columbia
Year 3 of Brad Scott's tenure was about as good as it would get under the Heinz Ketchup pitchman. The Gamecocks went 6-5 and beat Georgia and Clemson in the same season. We chose this game as it was one of the most competitive games in the series that the Gamecocks won. Redshirt Sophomore, and future NFL player, Ray Green intercepted a Pete Burks pass inside of Carolina territory with 31 seconds left to seal the win.
Former Carolina Panther Terry Cousin had a 51-yard pick-6 and Zola Davis would catch an 8-yard strike from Anthony Wright. (Quick side note). If Anthony Wright had arrived a decade later he'd have been an All-SEC player under Spurrier. While never a star, Wright played in the NFL for a decade and started 31 games. Duce Staley would gain 106 of his 1,116 rushing yards versus the Hogs on this day. Carolina would knock off former Clemson coach Danny Ford for the final time the next year in Little Rock.
#1 2004 35-32 Lou's Final Victory
It was widely believed that 2004 was going to be coach Lou Holtz's swan song. Rumors were running rampant that SC Athletic Director Mike McGee was targeting legend, Steve Spurrier, to replace legend Lou Holtz. Not one of the 78,800 Gamecocks fans in attendance on November 6, 2004, knew they were about to witness Lou Holtz's 249th and final win of his career. (The Clemson brawl 2 weeks later cost Carolina a bowl game and what would have been Holtz's last game).
This was actually a really fun game. Arkansas QB Matt Jones was a decade ahead of his time. He rushed for 111 yards in this game and was later drafted by Jacksonville in the first round as a tight end. The Gamecocks could not stop him. Luckily, Carolina's own duel threat QB, Syvelle Newton filled in for the injured Dondrial Pinkins in the 2nd half and led a game-winning drive that was capped off by a 13-yard Troy Williamson TD reception with 1:29 left.
South Carolina ball-hawking safety Ko Simpson iced the game with an interception. Earlier in the game, he would return a Peyton Hillis fumble 54 yards for a score.
Next week is going to be a challenge to identify the top five Georgia wins, as a Georgia win traditionally means a big season for the Gamecocks. Stay with us on GamecockScoop and The Insiders Forum for the latest in Gamecock sports and the top 5 UGA wins.