COLUMBIA -- If South Carolina were fortunate enough to beat Arkansas, Lou Holtz promised last week, the 63-year-old coach would tear down the goal posts all by himself.
But there was no "Lou Leap" in the aftermath of the No. 24 Gamecocks' resounding 27-7 win over Arkansas before 81,935 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
"I looked at that sucker, and then I looked at my arms," said Holtz, whose team improved to 6-1 (4-1 SEC) and qualified for a bowl invitation. "Then I looked at the size of that goal post and decided I'd be there all day."
REVENGE MISSION: The Gamecocks got revenge for last season's brutal 48-14 loss at Arkansas, a defeat the players said was foremost in their minds in the days leading to the game.
Razorbacks' coach Houston Nutt turned 43 on Saturday, and the Gamecocks gave him plenty of birthday spankings to nurse on the trip home.
"It was definitely motivating, coming in and saying, `Wow, we gave up 48 points last year,"' said nose tackle Cleveland Pinkney, whose defense sacked Razorbacks quarterbacks three times. "They tried to run up the score on us and embarrass us, which they did. We were down in the dumps last year around this time."
SURVIVOR: Shortly after Pinkney hobbled off the field after the second play of the game, it was announced the senior injured his right ankle and was doubtful to return.
But there Pinkney was with 7:16 left in the second quarter, back from the locker room and back in action. The 6-foot-2, 290-pounder said the sprained ankle won't affect him in practice this week.
Three other Gamecocks suffered injuries and will be re-evaluated this week: guard C.J. Frye (ankle), guard Cedric Williams (ankle) and free safety Antione Nesmith (knee).
POINTED MESSAGE: Reid Bethea's missed extra point in the second quarter was the first miss in 17 tries this season for the sophomore, but it was enough for Holtz to yank him in favor of walk-on Dan Weaver.
Weaver's first try, which came after Andrew Pinnock's 13-yard run put the Gamecocks up 19-0 with 8:21 left in the third quarter, was good, and so was his next attempt that helped put the Gamecocks up 27-0 late in the third quarter.
Bethea's quick hook could have been expected; four of his five missed field goal attempts this season have come from inside 40 yards.
Holtz indicated he plans to stick with Weaver.
"I like his attitude," he said.
FOOTBALL FETE: South Carolina's 1980 team, led by Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, received a tribute at halftime of Saturday's game. That squad went 8-4, won at Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., and lost to Pittsburgh in the Gator Bowl.
EXTRA POINTS: During one stretch in the first half, quarterback Phil Petty was 8-for-8 for 141 yards and two touchdown passes. ... Jermale Kelly's 13-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter gave the senior 19 career scoring catches, tying Robert Brooks for first on the school's career list. ... Arkansas' losing streak in SEC road games was extended to seven. ... Derek Watson's 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest rush by a Razorbacks opponent since Ole Miss' John Avery went 97 yards on Nov. 6, 1997. ... Watson's 136 yards helped him pass the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season. ... Arkansas' fourth-quarter touchdown represented the first points allowed by the Gamecocks in six quarters.
Reach: Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645.
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