RazOrbaX Report: Breaking down Arkansas' 41-20 win at S. Carolina
In 1992, the Arkansas Razorbacks made their first trip to Columbia, South Carolina, to take on the Gamecocks. It was the HOGS first conference game as a member of the SEC. The Razorbacks were in a bad mood after opening the season with an embarrassing loss to the Citadel. The Razorbacks dominated the game from the opening kickoff to the final gun for a 45-7 win. Saturday, November 6, 2010, seemed to be much the same. All week we heard how important this game was to South Carolina, but it was important to Arkansas, too!
OFFENSE: STATS DON’T LIE
HOG QB RYAN MALLETT
Offensively the Razorbacks picked the SC defense apart with Mallett hitting Cobi Hamilton and D.J. Williams early as they opened the game with a touchdown drive. Jarius Wright caught four passes but uncharacteristically dropped three. Joe Adams played sparingly but looked fast on the three catches he had. This game proved the season stats correct: Arkansas has the best passing offense and Carolina has one of the worst pass defenses, and Bobby Petrino took advantage of the situation. Knile Davis continued his growth as Arkansas' No. 1 ‘back. Arkansas had its best day on the zone stretch play. Most of the time everyone knew the play was coming as the Razorbacks would overload the formation with two tight ends and fullback Van Stumon all lined up on the same side of the field. Twice Davis cruised around the end and once he plowed off tackle as the line and the tight ends blew the Carolina defense 9 yards off the ball. It was the offensive line’s best game of the year.
DEFENSE HAS BEST GAME
When the Arkansas defense got a three and out on the first series and when Marcus Lattimore carried the ball none the first possession, the die was cast. The Razorback coaching staff did a magnificent job breaking down the Gamecocks offense and defensive tendencies. The HOG defense often had the defensive end "soft play" the Carolina zone read play where Garcia would put the ball in Lattimore's belly and read the defensive end on leaving it with Lattimore or keeping it. By soft playing the read, Garcia would give the ball to Lattimore. The Arkansas defensive line did a great job of gap control and the HOG linebackers read the plays well either making the tackle or filling the whole and forcing the running back into the waiting defensive end. Arkansas also began "spying" Garcia in the second half. At times the middle linebacker would mirror the SC quarterback, and other times a HOG defensive end would not rush but would loop to the middle and eye Garcia. This cut down on the quarterback running for plus yardage on passing downs and forced him to throw on the run. It was the HOGS best game of the season eclipsing last week’s Vandy game
KICKING: HOCKER MAKES PETRINO SMILE
What can you say about Zack Hocker? His 51-yard field goal brought an out-of-character smile from Bobby Petrino. The coach has confidence that once Arkansas is inside the opposition 35-yard line, he has points.
Hot Point Check Up
Time for Defensive Perfection
Goal-CONTROL THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE
Arkansas' front seven were huge. SC could not run the football. QB Stephen Garcia was the Gamecock's leading rusher (54 yards) and had a long run of 18 yards. The Razorbacks only sacked Garcia once but forced him out of the pocket, and he is not an accurate passer on the run as his two interceptions showed.
The Razorbacks mixed coverages all night. They played some man but mixed in very effective zones. At times the linebackers covered man underneath but others dropped into zones on the outside and even with the Jerry Franklin from his middle linebacker
There were only one or two plays during the game where the Razorbacks did not drop the ball carrier with their initial hit. Arkansas also had its best game gang tackling. The final proof is Carolina's 295 yards total offense.
Goal-TURN THE FIELD OVER
Breeding only punted twice for a 40.5 yard average. One was downed at the 15 yard line. Carolina punted three times for a 42-yard average, and neither team has any punt return yards.
Except for one return of 37 yards, the Gamecocks averaged 20 yards a return. One touchback and three times not getting to the 20 are winning stats for the kickoff team.
Execution on Offense
Goal-READ THE DEFENSE
Mallett was on, completing 21 of 30 pass attempts. Short, medium and long passes took advantage of every South Carolina coverage all night.
Goal-RUN FOR A HUNDRED
Davis had 110. Green ran hard for 26 and Wingo added 18 as the Razorbacks dominated the rushing stats and the clock.
UP NEXT: MORE THAN UTEP
With LSU's victory, Arkansas has a real opportunity to reach the Sugar Bowl. Before the battle for the boot, the Razorbacks must win on the road at Starkville and take care of business Saturday in Fayetteville against the University of Texas El Paso. A late-season non-conference game in Fayetteville usually means that it will not be a sell out. Remember this HOG fans: This might be your last chance to see Ryan Mallett in person. Arkansas needs to play at the high level it has the past three weeks to set up a big November finish for a BCS bowl game possibility. This team may not be able to win Arkansas' first SEC championship, but it can do something only two other Razorback football teams have done: win eleven games in a season. One more time Razorback fans, fill DWR and cheer the seniors out in style. GO HOGS