'We used that as motivation.' Georgia's rout of USC aided by pregame guarantee

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Not long after it was over — and his alma mater officially took its worst home loss in this series since 1971 — Tori Gurley changed his Twitter profile photo.

Find the former South Carolina receiver on the social media network now and you’ll spot a Georgia logo next to his name.

The No. 3 Bulldogs trounced the Gamecocks 41-17 on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. It put a big damper on the home team’s opportunity to seize the upper hand in the SEC East Division race, sure, but it also squashed Gurley’s pregame prediction.

After saying Friday on the SEC Network that USC is “the better team right now” and that “Georgia is in for a rude awakening,” Gurley had to eat a little crow.

“Georgia, you’re messing up my guarantees lol,” Gurley tweeted. “You guys played like the 3rd ranked team that you are. Congrats!!!”

The Bulldog players were happy to cause Gurley’s change in stance. They had been hearing such noise since the summer. It was in July, as part of “Gamecocks Takeover Day” on the SEC Network, when Gurley said, “I’m going to guarantee that South Carolina gets the win at home. Yes. In Williams-Brice in front of 80,000, on CBS.”

Forty-eight copies of the “guarantee,” according to the Macon Telegraph, were taped to a wall in UGA’s facility.

“I don’t blame them,” said Bulldogs defensive back Deandre Baker, who turned a first-quarter interception into a near pick-six. “Alumni, they say stuff like that. They’re going to be diehard fans for their school. But we just used that as motivation.”

“I know (Gurley’s) kind of feeling pretty silly right now,” added defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter. “But we don’t focus on anybody else. That’s not our game. We don’t do that. We like to have class. We come out and we play football. That’s what it is at the end of the day, it’s a game.”

UGA coach Kirby Smart confirmed Gurley’s guarantee was posted in the team facilities, but he downplayed its impact on the result.

“They put something up in the weight room,” Smart said, “but I wanted discipline and composure. And playing in this environment, it’s a lot more about discipline and composure. Sometimes, when you get into all that disrespect, you get chippy, you make bad decisions.

“I knew it was going to be a chippy kind of game because both staffs are intense and both programs are physical, but we didn’t want our guys getting stupid penalties. And I thought they managed themselves really well in that regard.

“I don’t like the disrespect as a motivating factor.”

Georgia, reigning SEC champions, has now won four straight over South Carolina.

“There was a lot of hype this week about them upsetting us,” said UGA running back D’Andre Swift. “We just practiced hard during the week, and I think that showed today. We were the better team today, and I think it shows what kind of preparation we had.”

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