FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Jadeveon Clowney didn't make a tackle in the first three quarters of his return for No. 14 South Carolina on Saturday.
South Carolina didn't really need the junior defensive end.
The Gamecocks' defense dominated despite Clowney finishing with only one tackle, holding Arkansas to 248 yards while cruising to a 52-7 victory at Razorback Stadium.
Clowney, playing for the first time in two weeks because of a muscle strain in his rib area, was often double-teamed. The 6-foot-6, 274-pounder played into the early stages of the fourth quarter after a week filled with questions about his status.
"When I got back, I told the guys, 'Listen, we ain't letting everybody talking about us right now, me ... I'm just going to turn up, man," Clowney said. Just keep all them games. Let's play. Have fun out here.
"So I told them, 'Let's all get together and have fun today.'"
South Carolina (5-1, 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference) trailed, 7-0, less than three minutes into the game, then scored the final 52 points en route to its largest margin of victory in an SEC road game in coach Steve Spurrier's nine-year tenure.
Coupled with Georgia's 41-26 loss at Missouri, the victory put the Gamecocks back in the thick of the SEC East hunt.
"Right now we're in good shape," Spurrier said. "Can we continue is the big question."
Senior quarterback Conner Shaw was sharp while playing a little more than three quarters for the Gamecocks, completing 19-of-28 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns in addition to rushing for another score.
Mike Davis, the SEC's leading rusher, ran for 63 of his game-high 128 yards in the first quarter as South Carolina had its way with the Arkansas defense through the air and on the ground.
The Gamecocks racked up 537 yards, converted all five of its attempts on fourth down and held the ball for 43:25, allowing Arkansas to run only 37 offensive plays.
"That's the fewest (plays) I've ever seen in college ball," Spurrier said. "Obviously, our team played the best game we have all year."
Arkansas (3-4, 0-3) lost its fourth straight game in the midst of a five-game stretch that features four ranked opponents, including a looming match-up at No. 1 Alabama next week.
"I said at halftime that I wanted to see that team that came out of the gate (this season)," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "It's very frustrating right now."
The Razorbacks took the opening kickoff and drove down the field, taking a 7-0 lead on freshman running back Alex Collins' six-yard touchdown run.
But the Arkansas offense went cold after that.
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen's fifth interception in three games since returning from a shoulder injury led to a quick touchdown by Davis to put the Gamecocks ahead, 10-7, with 5:12 left in the opening quarter.
Arkansas failed to pick up a first down for the remainder of the first half, going three-and-out its next three possessions and turning it over on downs on the fourth.
"BA is a young QB who is tough," Bielema said. "He's getting better."
The Gamecocks continued to stretch the lead as the Razorbacks floundered.
Shaw found Bruce Ellington for a nine-yard touchdown pass to push the advantage to 17-7 less than two minutes into the second quarter.
South Carolina converted a fourth-and-two at the Arkansas seven-yard-line to set up another Shaw-to-Ellington touchdown to make it 24-7 with 13 seconds left in the first half.
The Gamecocks stretched it to 31-7 on Shaw's 45-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Damiere Byrd on the opening drive of the second half.
Arkansas finally picked up a first down on its ensuing possession, but receiver Keon Hatcher lost a fumble at the end of a 50-yard run on a reverse to thwart any momentum.
Collins fumbled into the pylon at the end of a 29-yard run in the fourth quarter, resulting in a touchback and a lost scoring opportunity.
South Carolina added three second-half touchdowns to add to its most lopsided victory of the season and only its second victory in Fayetteville.
NOTES: The 45-point margin of victory is the largest in series history. ... Bruce Ellington finished with six catches for 96 yards and the two scores. ... Alex Collins rushed for 69 yards on 10 carries, the second straight week he failed to crack the century mark after rushing for more than 100 in four of the first five games. ... Jadeveon Clowney has 13 tackles and two sacks in five games.