With McFadden and Jones struggling against a physical Auburn defense, combining for just 85 yards on 23 carries, Auburn's duo was pounding away for a total of 180 yards on 44 attempts to set the tempo for the Tiger offense all night long. Tate says for Auburn's running backs it was a matter of pride on this night.
"Our goal was to outdo McFadden and Jones," Tate says. "I think we did that.
"We knew we had to control the football and keep their offense off the field," Tate adds. "That's their strong part, their offense and those guys running the ball. We had to come in and beat them at their own game."
That is exactly what Auburn did on a beautiful Saturday night in the Ozarks as the Tigers ran 24 more offensive plays than Arkansas and controlled the ball for 35:53 of the 60 minutes in the game. That is something Auburn has done consistently under Coach Tommy Tuberville and it continued in a big way against the Razorbacks as they wore down under the Tigers' physical assault late in the contest.
"We talked about it yesterday," Lester says. "I think we did a good job today. We established a good running game and we all ran the ball today…it seemed like in the first half I did a lot of running and then in the second half he (Tate) came in and wore them down in the third and fourth quarter."
It was far from a perfect performance for the offense though as they struggled to put points on the board despite having several opportunities to open up a lead against the Razorbacks. Still, in the end, Auburn made the plays when it had to in order to pick up yet another huge road win.
"We knew it was going to be us versus their defense," Tate says. "We knew our defense was going to hold McFadden and Jones down and that's what they did. We had to step up and do our part. We did it for the most part. We did enough to win the game.
"We have a lot of confidence in our defense, but we can't expect them to win games for us all the time," Tate adds. We have a lot of confidence in them though. We know we have to do our part as well."
When it mattered most the offense did come up with several big plays. Getting the ball back at its own 47-yard line with under two minutes remaining, Auburn turned to senior quarterback Brandon Cox to deliver a victory and once again he came through as the Tigers won on a 20-yard field goal by Wes Byrum to seal the victory. Both Tate and Lester say that they weren't worried at all because they had number 12 and he comes through when it counts.
"Cox came out and he's a leader," Tate says. "He drove us most of the way down the field. He did what he does. The wide receivers caught the ball well and the offensive line blocked well. At the end I did my part running the ball and trying to get a first down.
"Everyone has seen him do it time and time again," Tate says of Cox. "He showed up again."