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Will Anderson Jr. Elevates Alabama Defense in Big Night in Starkvegas

The Crimson Tide sophomore linebacker added four sacks to his season total on Saturday night against the Bulldogs.

STARKVILLE, Miss. — As the old saying goes, you can't talk the talk if you don't walk the walk. For Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., he has had zero problems with accomplishing either of those things this season.

On Saturday night inside Davis Wade Stadium on the campus of Mississippi State, Anderson did something that has not been done by a Crimson Tide defender since 1988: Anderson sacked the opposing quarterback four times.

Anderson became just the third Alabama player in program history to record four sacks in a single game, joining Derrick Thomas and Leroy Cook. Thomas holds the record with five sacks against Texas A&M in 1988, but that same year Thomas sacked the Kentucky quarterback four times — the last time that the feat had been accomplished before Saturday night.

After the game, Anderson noted that while he is happy with the results, his road at Alabama is far from over.

"It means a lot," Anderson said. "Still haven't accomplished what I wanted to but I give all the thanks to my coaches and teammates. The preparation was good this week. We were all on the same page and when you're all on the same page, good things come out of that."

So far this season, Anderson has been a force to be reckoned with off the edge for the Crimson Tide defense. Last season, Anderson registered seven sacks over the course of 13 games. This season, Anderson also has seven sacks, but this time over the course of just seven games.

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After the team's loss at Texas A&M back on Oct. 9, Anderson was one of the more vocal leaders on the team in the locker room following the game. During his availability with the media on Monday, Anderson doubled down on his stances that his defense simply wasn't living up to 'The Alabama standard.'

After the Crimson Tide's performance on Saturday night in Starkville — a game that saw Alabama defeat Mississippi State 49-9 and sack Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers a total of seven times — Anderson's said that he was satisfied with his team's performance.

"I think we were all locked in," Anderson said. "We were all focused. And I know, like, most of my interviews I've been saying 'Football has to be the most important thing', and I think definitely this week football was the most important thing and we just didn't want that feeling that we felt last week."

In a season that has had a lot of inconsistencies for the Crimson Tide on the defensive side of the football, Anderson's performances through seven games have been some of the most consistent. Adding in his six tackles on Saturday night, Anderson is third on the team this season with 45 tackles

Despite being just a sophomore, Anderson has become a key pillar of the Alabama defense. By containing opposing quarterbacks and limiting the opposition's running threat around the end, Anderson will continue to play a key factor for the Crimson Tide as it attempts to re-join the hunt for the College Football Playoff.

"I thought Will did an outstanding job out there pressuring the quarterback," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "He actually — he had the quarterback a couple of other times but he got away from us but it affects them. I think that was as big a part of the game as anything."