COLUMBIA -- Last year, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery had the best season for a wide receiver in school history. He caught a school-record 88 passes for 1,517 yards -- blowing away the old marks of 77 catches and 1,143 yards.
Jeffery, a junior, won't come close to those numbers this season. With four games remaining in the regular season, starting with Saturday's trip to Arkansas, he has 33 catches for 468 yards and five touchdowns -- team highs all, but modest compared to his 2010 numbers.
Former quarterback Stephen Garcia's inconsistent play earlier in the season limited Jeffery's effectiveness. He had his best game of the season (statistically, at least) in Connor Shaw's debut as at starting quarterback -- six catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns -- but that was against lowly Kentucky.
Two games ago, at Mississippi State, Jeffery had five catches for 24 yards and a touchdown. Last week, at Tennessee, he had three catches for a season-low 17 yards, as the Volunteers dedicated an extra defensive back to prevent him from getting open.
South Carolina hopes Jeffery can be more of a weapon against Arkansas, as the Gamecocks will almost certainly need to score to keep up. The Razorbacks rank No. 20 nationally with 36.9 points per game.
True freshman Damiere Byrd said he hasn't seen the extra attention from defenses affect Jeffery's demeanor.
"I think Alshon came into the season knowing that (defenses would focus on him) already," Byrd said. "He hasn't complained about it or spoken anything about it. In that situation, you just have to hope for that play where you're not double covered. If not, you'll just have to be able to know that you're going to have to be a decoy on certain plays."
Jeffery was not at Wednesday's media interviews.
Allen hurts neck
Senior spur linebacker Antonio Allen missed Wednesday's practice after spraining his neck during Tuesday's practice. He was able to walk off the field after the injury and attended Wednesday's practice. His status for Saturday's game is unclear, according to the school.
Allen has been one of the Gamecocks' most effective players this season. He leads the team with 62 tackles and three fumble recoveries. He is tied for the team lead with three interceptions and is third with 6 1/2 tackles for a loss.
A rare game
Saturday's meeting between No. 10 South Carolina and No. 8 Arkansas will be just the fourth game in Gamecocks history between top-10 teams. Not that it has any bearing on Saturday's game, but South Carolina is 0-3 in the previous matchups.
In 1984, No. 7 USC lost 21-14 to No. 9 Oklahoma State in the Gator Bowl, as the Gamecocks finished 10-2 after starting 9-0 -- the best season in school history.
In 1987, when the Gamecocks finished 8-4, they lost their final two games -- both of which were meetings of top-10 teams. They were No. 8 in the regular season finale, which they dropped 20-16 to No. 2 Miami, the eventual national champion. They were No. 9 in the Gator Bowl, which they lost 30-13 to No. 7 LSU.
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