South Carolina finally breaks through against Arkansas
COLUMBIA — To South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, it seemed like quite a while since the last time his team beat Arkansas before Saturday’s 38-20 victory.
“It was good to beat Arkansas, finally,” Spurrier said. “I think the last time we beat them, Bush was the president.”
He meant George W. Bush, of course, not his father. And Spurrier was technically correct. USC last defeated Arkansas, 34-21, on Nov. 8, 2008, four days after Barack Obama was elected to replace Bush the following January.
USC had lost three straight and five of six against Arkansas before Saturday. And the margins of those defeats weren’t close: 16, 12, 17, 21, and 16 last season in Fayetteville.
USC is now 8-13 against Arkansas, with all the games coming since 1992, when the teams joined the Southeastern Conference together — USC in the Eastern Division, Arkansas in the Western.
But will the series continue past next season, when USC travels to Fayetteville for the first of three road trips (along with Tennessee and Missouri) in three weeks?
The SEC is using 2013 as another “bridge” year to its new scheduling format, as a result of Texas A&M and Missouri joining the league this year. USC was going to be paired with Texas A&M as its permanent Western opponent, but the league won’t decide the permanent cross-division pairings until its athletic directors meet early next year.
Clowney’s sack record
Jadeveon Clowney recorded another sack and now has 9½ for the season. Another sack and he breaks the South Carolina single-season record; Andrew Provence (1982) and Melvin Ingram (last season) had 10 sacks.
Tight end depth
The Gamecocks have nice tight end depth with Justice Cunningham and Rory Anderson. And now introducing Jerell Adams, a true freshman tight end from Pinewood.
Adams (6-6, 224) caught his first touchdown pass, a 29-yard strike from Connor Shaw, to give South Carolina a 7-0 lead. Adams was so wide open, “I think I could have caught that pass,” Spurrier said.
Lattimore sends message
Marcus Lattimore offered thanks to fans in a video board message during the first quarter. The junior running back suffered a season-ending knee injury against Tennessee two weeks ago.
“Hey, Gamecock Country,” Lattimore said. “I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you very much for all the notes and cards. I appreciate all of your support. I am feeling fine and working to get back to football. To my teammates, I only have one message: Beat Arkansas! Go Gamecocks!”
Lattimore will receive a game ball from teammates.
“I thought that was pretty awesome,” quarterback Connor Shaw said of the video message.