FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Rocket Sanders ran for a career-high 156 yards and scored Arkansas’ first two touchdowns, and KJ Jefferson ran for a score and threw for another to lift the No. 16 Razorbacks past South Carolina 44-30 on Saturday.
Jefferson led Arkansas (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) on three scoring drives in the fourth quarter, never allowing South Carolina to rally.
He finished 18 of 21 for 162 yards passing and ran for 67 yards.
A 23-yard touchdown pass to Warren Thompson with 12:09 left provided the key score, giving Arkansas a 19-point edge. South Carolina had fumbled on its previous drive after Jefferson’s 2-yard touchdown run.
Arkansas scored on its first three possessions of the game, all of which went for 12 plays or more.
Sanders finished the first two and freshman Rashod Dubinion had his first career touchdown, giving Arkansas a 21-3 lead in the second quarter.
Spencer Rattler was 23 of 38 with 361 yards passing for South Carolina (1-1, 0-1), though 173 of those came in the fourth quarter when the Gamecocks were chasing from way behind.
Rattler’s 62-yard touchdown pass to Antwane Wells Jr. in the third quarter pulled the Gamecocks within five. When he sought Wells in the end zone again in the fourth, he was intercepted by Dwight McGlothern.
Arkansas, which was seventh in FBS averaging 228 yards a game on the ground last year, ran for 300 against South Carolina.
The Gamecocks had an interception and lost two fumbles.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks had moments, but the consistency was lacking in coach Shane Beamer’s second year.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks' defense held up well without two starters in the secondary, including former freshman All-America safety Jalen Catalon.
Arkansas likely won’t do any worse than staying put at No. 16 when the polls are released Sunday.
South Carolina: Hosts defending national champion Georgia in Week 3
Arkansas: Missouri State comes to town next week, led by former Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino.