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McFadden early, Monk late too much for Gamecocks in loss to Hogs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Arkansas' running game was once again
dominant, led by Darren McFadden's career-high 219 yards.

Casey Dick and Marcus Monk made the Razorbacks potent in the
passing game, too.

Dick relieved freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain and threw for
228 yards and Monk had eight catches for a career-best 192 yards in
a 26-20 win over South Carolina on Saturday night.

Mustain was pulled after throwing an interception on the first
series.

"This is a very critical time in November and we needed just a
little bit more experience," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "I
had to go with Casey and he did a good job.

Dick went 11-for-19 with a touchdown. He said he wasn't nervous.
"Coach just put me out there and said it's yours," he said.

Arkansas (8-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) is in first-place in
the SEC West thanks in large part to its ground game, which gained
267 yards to pad its league-leading average of 235. McFadden has
now passed 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.

But three of the biggest plays were passes from Dick to Monk.

Monk had a 26-yard reception on third-and-10 and a 14-yard catch
on third-and-8 to keep the Razorbacks' game-ending drive alive
after South Carolina (5-4, 3-4) got two second-half touchdowns to
cut its deficit to six. Monk also had a 50-yard touchdown reception
that bounced off a defender with two seconds to go in the first
half.

"They wanted to stop the run, so we had to take them out of
that," Monk said. "They played a lot of single coverage. I was
happy with that."

The Gamecocks trailed 23-6 at half, but got a spark when backup
quarterback Blake Mitchell took over after the break. The junior
completed 15 of 21 passes for 213 yards, leading touchdown drives
of 92 and 99 yards to trim what started as a 20-point deficit to
26-20 early in the fourth quarter.

"Those two drives were two of the best drives -- catch and
throw, catch and throw -- I've ever seen," said Arkansas defensive
coordinator Reggie Herring, who has been coaching for more than two
decades.

But Mitchell finally made a mistake, throwing an interception to
Darius Vinnett on an under-thrown ball with just over five minutes
to go with South Carolina down six and in Arkansas territory.

South Carolina had other mistakes too -- allowing a 50-yard TD
pass in the waning moments of the first half, nullifying a
first-half touchdown with an offensive pass interference penalty
and lining up in an illegal formation on a punt and having the
re-kick blocked for a safety.

"That's why we're losers around here -- because we don't do the
little things right," Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said.

Meanwhile, Arkansas is doing most everything right.

The Razorbacks have to win two of their last three games to win
the Western Division, although the schedule isn't easy with No. 8
Tennessee next weekend, at an improving Mississippi State, then
finishing the regular season against No. 13 LSU. No. 6 Florida has
already won the East and a spot in the SEC title game.

An undefeated run through that schedule and the Hogs could make
up a lot of ground in the BCS, too. They were 13th this week.

Dick said the team isn't talking about the BCS. "We've got too
much to do before we get there," he said.

After the game, Nutt said he wanted to talk to his coaches
before deciding if Dick will take over the starting job from
Mustain.

South Carolina remains a win away from bowl eligibility with an
emotional game against Florida coming up next Saturday as Spurrier
returns to coach at The Swamp for the first time since leaving the
Gators after the 2001 season.

Spurrier said Mitchell will start because "we've got to throw
the ball to play those guys" but said Newton will also take some
snaps too.

The Gamecocks continue to frustrate the Head Ball Coach --
Spurrier's preferred nickname. This is the third loss to a top 15
team by a touchdown or less this season. The loss also guarantees
the first back-to-back seasons with less than 10 wins for Spurrier
since going 8-4 with Duke in 1989 and 9-2 a year later when he took
over Florida.

"Maybe they're a lot better than us," Spurrier said of
Arkansas. "We were fortunate enough to get close -- I don't know
what happened."