ATHENS — It’s often said games are won in the trenches, but the defensive line is one of the hardest positions to quantify with statistics.
Georgia nose tackle Jordan Davis and has D-Line peers are good examples of such.
None of the Bulldogs’ defensive linemen rank in the top five on the team in tackles. Tyler Clark and Travon Walker are the only two to get credited with sacks.
And yet, Georgia’s defensive line has spearheaded an effort that’s made UGA one of only two teams not to allow a rushing touchdown this season, per ESPN.
The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs will look to keep that streak intact when they play at Tennessee at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Neyland Stadium.
Davis, an FWAA Freshman All-American last season, said he doesn’t evaluate himself on individual stats, anyway.
“We have a saying, ‘If it’s two on me, somebody is free,’ (and) I take real pride in that,” said Davis, a 6-foot-6, 330-pounder from Charlotte, N.C.
“I can leave the game with zero tackles, and I’ll still feel like I’ve had an accomplished game because somebody else is eating off me.”
Davis estimated he played only 10 snaps against Tennessee when the teams met last season. He didn’t truly emerge until the Vanderbilt game in 2018, the week after UGA played the Vols.
“I’m really excited to go to their house, I have a couple of players that I know from back home, so it’s like a bragging rights game for me,” Davis said. “I (also) remember Trey (Smith), offensive lineman. He was young and experienced, and I admired that because I try to work my game on the defensive side.
“His size, his tenacity, he’s a real road grader.”
The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Smith ranks as one of Tennessee’s most ferocious players. Smith was a 2017 Freshman All-American and has been a team leader on and off the field who has overcome blood clots.
Davis’ personal rivalry is with Vols’ freshman linebacker Quavaris Crouch, the top-ranked player out of North Carolina in the 2019 class.
Crouch, who wears Tennessee’s fabled number of 27, was also the Charlotte Observer Player of the Year in 2017, Davis’ senior season of high school in Charlotte.
“It’s a big game for us, I want to talk junk to him,” Davis said with a smile. “It’s our bragging rights game.”
Davis and Crouch could collide on the field. Tennessee has used the 6-foot-1, 246-pound Crouch in short-yardage situations at running back.
It’s a Vols’ team that is desperate for a win. It’s also one likely to come into the game with a chip on its shoulder as a three-touchdown home underdog.
“We expect their best punch,” Davis said. “I know Tennessee isn’t going to back down.”
Georgia DT Jordan Davis
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