FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.(AP) Ryan Mallett went 23 of 27 for 329 yards to lead Arkansas to a 33-16 victory over South Carolina on Saturday.
Mallett was 12 of 13 in the second half, and the Razorbacks scored 23 unanswered points to finish the game. Arkansas (5-4, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) needs only one more win to become bowl eligible.
D.J. Williams caught seven passes for 137 yards for the Razorbacks, including a 69-yard reception near the end of the first half that set up an important field goal.
Stephen Garcia passed for 327 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4), who have lost three of four and are in danger of a third straight late-season fade. Mallett and Garcia entered the game ranked 1-2 in the SEC in passing.
South Carolina scored on its first play of the second half when Garcia threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery , but it was all downhill from there for the Gamecocks. First, they botched the extra point. Then, Arkansas took a 17-16 lead on Mallett's 1-yard scoring run.
Jerell Norton intercepted Garcia in the end zone on South Carolina's next possession, and Broderick Green put Arkansas ahead by eight with a 2-yard touchdown run. Less than 90 seconds later, the Razorbacks added a safety on a play that began at the South Carolina 32. A shotgun snap sailed past Garcia, and although the quarterback tried to fall on the ball near his own 5, it skipped into the end zone. South Carolina recovered, but the two points gave Arkansas a 26-16 advantage.
Green added a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:31 left in the fourth quarter.
Williams, a tight end, caught a team-high 61 passes last season, but he had only 16 receptions this season entering Saturday.
With the Razorbacks trailing 10-7 and 22 seconds remaining in the first half, Williams took a short pass, eluded a couple defenders and ran all the way to the South Carolina 7 for a 69-yard gain. Mallett nearly threw an interception on the next play, but Arkansas was able to tie it with a field goal on the half's final play.
South Carolina is trying to avoid another difficult finish after starting 5-1. South Carolina was 7-3 before losing its final three games of last season, and dropped its final five games of 2007 to finish 6-6.
The Gamecocks wasted an opportunity on their very first possession. On fourth-and-1 from the Arkansas 6, they called two timeouts before Garcia finally ran for a first down. Moments later, South Carolina was ready to go for it again on fourth down from the 1, but a delay of game penalty forced the Gamecocks to settle for a field goal.
Joe Adams put Arkansas ahead 7-3 with a touchdown on an 18-yard end-around.
South Carolina took a 10-7 lead on Garcia's 1-yard touchdown run after the Gamecocks stopped a fake punt in Arkansas territory.