Georgia inside linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) during a game against Mississippi State on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Coming off of an elite outing against No. 3 Clemson, there might not be a better linebacker unit in the country than at Georgia. On Saturday night, the Bulldogs defensive corp showed that it should not be taken for granted.

Georgia’s pass rush was a game changer in Charlotte over the weekend, and the linebackers applied a lot of the pressure. Three linebackers, Nakobe Dean, Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith, contributed to the Bulldogs’ impressive seven total sacks. Dean finished with two sacks, while Anderson and Smith grabbed one apiece.

The linebackers as a unit also combined for 17 of Georgia’s 55 tackles, with five coming from both Dean and Anderson. Quay Walker, Nolan Smith and Channing Tindall all provided tackles as well.

The Bulldogs rank eighth in the country in total defense after week one, allowing a mere 180 yards to Clemson. The seven sacks over the first weekend were enough to rank Georgia third in the nation as well.

When the Bulldogs come home to Sanford Stadium in Week 2, they will focus on stopping a UAB offense that impressed in its season opener. The Blazers put up 518 total yards, including 147 yards on the ground against Jacksonville State. Although the opponent might not be on the level of the Bulldogs, the volume in itself is impressive.

Even more impressive for the Blazers in their season opening win was the shut out. UAB won 31-0 over Jacksonville State, in large part due to its linebackers.

The Blazers run a similar 3-4 defense to the Bulldogs and have plenty of experience to fill each position. The two inside linebackers are redshirt junior Deshaun Oliver Jr. and redshirt senior Noah Wilder. Redshirt senior Antonio Moultrie and junior Alex Wright line up at SAM and JACK respectively on the outside.

Moultrie has played in 27 games for UAB, contributing 55 total tackles over that time. Wright and Wilder both have 22 games each under their belts. Wright contributed 45 tackles and 5.5 sacks, while Wilder has grabbed 135 total tackles over his two year tenure. The Blazer defensive corp should look to disrupt the lackluster Georgia offense from Week 1.

Jake Jennings is a senior journalism major from Powder Springs, Georgia. He is minoring in sports management and political science as well. He reports on soccer, football and baseball.

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