Columbia, SC – Connor Shaw threw for 272 yards and accounted for three touchdowns to lead No. 12 South Carolina to a 38-20 victory over Arkansas in an SEC matchup from Williams-Brice Stadium.
Shaw completed 14-of-22 attempts while throwing for two touchdowns, and added a rushing score as the Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 SEC) closed out their conference schedule with their 10th consecutive home win.
Bruce Ellington finished with 104 yards and a touchdown on five catches for South Carolina, with Mike Davis and Kenny Miles combining for 90 yards and a score in place of injured star running back Marcus Lattimore.
"We had a good game plan coming in to today," Shaw said. "Kenny and Mike did a good job running the ball and our receivers did a good job of catching the ball, getting open then making a play after the catch."
Tyler Wilson accumulated 277 yards and two touchdowns on 26-of-41 passing for Arkansas (4-6, 2-4), but threw a pair of second-half interceptions -- one of which was returned 69 yards for a touchdown by the Gamecocks' D.J. Swearinger.
The Razorbacks, who began what's been a disappointing and turbulent 2012 season ranked 10th in the nation, now need to win their remaining two games against top-25 foes Mississippi State and LSU to become bowl eligible.
Arkansas did hang tough with the heavily favored Gamecocks throughout much of the first half, with the score deadlocked at 7-7 midway through the second quarter before Shaw and his teammates started to take over.
Just over a minute after Wilson and Keon Hatcher connected for a 6-yard touchdown to tie the contest, Shaw hit Ellington on a wheel route for a 36- yard gain that brought South Carolina to the Arkansas 14 when a roughing the passer penalty was tacked on. Three plays later, the Gamecocks quarterback beat the defense to the right pylon on a 10-yard scramble for a 14-7 edge with 5:28 left in the first half.
The Razorbacks closed to within four points on Zach Hooker's 20-yard field goal two minutes later, with Wilson beginning the 7-play sequence with three straight completions totaling 72 yards. However, Shaw found Ellington behind the Arkansas defense for a 42-yard touchdown on the ensuing drive to extend South Carolina's margin to 21-10 with 1:30 remaining before intermission.
South Carolina would add on to its advantage early in the third quarter by orchestrating a 9-play, 52-yard series capped by Adam Yates' 41-yard field goal, then furthered its lead with two more touchdowns before the period came to a close.
The first was provided by the defense, as Wilson locked on to his primary receiver and Swearinger jumped the route before racing untouched 69 yards to put the Gamecocks up 31-10 just over four minutes into the second half.
"We made a lot of mistakes. In the first half, we had some chances and made crucial mistakes. Then we came out [in the] second half and I think the pick- six was a big momentum changer that really hurt us." Arkansas coach John L. Smith said.
Wilson would move Arkansas inside the South Carolina 10-yard line once again on the subsequent possession, before the drive stalled and Hooker came on to boot a 21-yard field goal. The Gamecocks quickly got into scoring range, however, and fully cashed in on their red-zone opportunity.
A 29-yard strike from Shaw to Rory Anderson created a 1st-and-goal at the Arkansas 6, with Davis later crossing the goal line from two yards out to enable South Carolina to enter the fourth quarter with a commanding 38-13 lead.
The Gamecocks would keep Arkansas' potent offense in check until the game's final moments, when Wilson culminated an 8-play, 58-yard garbage-time jaunt with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Wilson with 39 seconds to go.
Shaw's 29-yard pass to Jerell Adams with 5:47 left in the first quarter put the Gamecocks on top by a 7-0 count, but the South Carolina offense sputtered on its next two drives to allow Arkansas to eventually draw even.
The Razorbacks had a couple of missed chances early on, as an illegal formation penalty wiped out a 40-yard hookup between Wilson and Cobi Hamilton deep into South Carolina territory on the game's initial possession and Dennis Johnson fumbled at the Gamecocks' five while stretching for a first down three minutes into the second quarter.
They would convert on their next touch, though. Wilson opened the six-play, 50-yard series with a 27-yard delivery to Hamilton and later found Javontee Herndon for a 20-yard gain before firing a 6-yard pass to Hatcher that knotted the score.
South Carolina halted a three-game losing streak in the series, with its most recent win over the Razorbacks a 34-21 decision in Columbia in 2008 ... The Gamecocks have now chalked up eight victories or more in three straight seasons for the first time in school history ... Arkansas had prevailed in eight straight matchups against SEC East opponents, with its last interdivision loss a 23-20 setback at Florida on Oct. 17, 2009 ... Wilson now has 539 career completions, moving him past Clint Stoerner (528) for first place on Arkansas' all-time list.