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Rocket lifts Hogs to win over South Carolina

#16 Arkansas takes down the Gamecocks in the SEC opener to move to 2-0 on the season.
Credit: Arkansas football

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — #16 Arkansas opened SEC play on Saturday with a win over South Carolina, 44-30. The Hogs have now started conference play 1-0 two seasons in a row. 

Rocket Sanders ran for a career-high 156 yards on 24 carries, with two touchdowns.

Jalen Catalon and Myles Slusher both missed the game for the Razorbacks. Jayden Johnson made his first career start. 

Rocket Sanders took matters into his own hands on the first Arkansas possession. The sophomore running back ran for 32 yards with a 17 yard reception. Sanders finished the drive with a one yard touchdown run for the first score of the game. 

The Gamecocks would respond with a 28-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 ballgame. MarShawn Lloyd had a 43-yard reception on the drive. 

The Razorbacks second drive would take the game into the second quarter, but the result was the same. KJ Jefferson got the passing game going, hitting Warren Thompson, Jadon Haselwood and Matt Landers during the possession. 

Sanders would finish the drive with his second rushing touchdown of the game, this one for eleven yards. Sanders was up to 61 rushing yards on eleven attempts. 

The Arkansas offense would make it a perfect three for three on the next possession. This time it was freshman running back Rashod Dubinion punching in his first collegiate touchdown. 

The Razorbacks were dominating in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Halfway through the second the Hogs had 204 total yards and was 4-6 on third downs. On defense, Drew Sanders was up to six total tackles with a sack. 

The Gamecocks would strike with three minutes to play in the half. Lloyd would score a rushing touchdown, but a botched snap on the extra point made it a 21-9 game. 

Cam Little missed a 50-yard field goal before the break and Arkansas took a twelve point lead into halftime. 

South Carolina would make it a ballgame early in the third. Facing third and 18 on its own 37 Spencer Rattler hit Antwane Wells Jr. for a 67-yard touchdown. Just like that it was a 21-16 game. 

The defense would correct course on its next drive. Bumper Pool pinned South Carolina deep in its own territory with a sack on third down.

The offense would take the momentum and turn it into a score. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jefferson would run it in from two yards out. Arkansas had a 28-16 advantage. 

The defense would proceed to strike again. Pool and Latavious Brini forced a fumble on the next Gamecocks drive and Hudson Clark came up with a recovery. 

The offense would then bring the dagger with Jefferson hitting Warren Thompson for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Thompson's first score of the year gave the Hogs a 35-16 lead with 12:09 to play.

Sanders would finish the day with career-high 156 rushing yards on 24 carries. Jefferson was 18-21 with a passing and rushing touchdown. The Hogs quarterback has yet to throw an interception this season.

Dwight McGlothern would intercept Rattler late in the fourth to finish things off. Arkansas finished the game with four different players scoring a rushing touchdown and nearly 300 total yards on the ground. 

Arkansas improves to 1-0 in SEC play and 2-0 on the year with a 44-30 win over South Carolina. 

The Hogs will stay home next Saturday to host Missouri State at 6 p.m. 

RELATED: Arkansas football moves up to #16 in AP Top 25

RELATED: Hogs bury the Bearcats 31-24 in season opener

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