"The defense is doing a great job this season," Tate tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "If it wasn't for them we wouldn't be 4-1 now. We definitely give them a lot of praise for how they are playing. We feel bad we haven't been holding up our end of the bargain. We have got to step up and get clicking."
In Auburn's 14-12 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers, the offense showed promise early with 86 first quarter yards including an 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive. However, the offensive production dropped from there and the Tigers ended the game with just 226 yards on total offense. As disappointing as that total was, it was 35 more than the Vols managed against the Tigers.
"That touchdown drive was the way we should be playing," Tate says. "We did have a penalty on the drive, but we overcame that.
"In the LSU game we were close to getting better on offense, but we did a lot of little things that were wrong," Tate says. "We were thinking that the Tennessee game was when we would come out and explode, but we stepped backward.
"Hopefully, the Vanderbilt game will be the one where we become a lot more disciplined, we stop shooting ourselves in the foot and put everything together," he adds.
Ben Tate leads the Tigers in rushing this season with 393 yards at 4.6 yards per carry.
The Tigers play at 19th-ranked Vandy on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the top SEC matchup of the week. ESPN GameDay will be at Vanderbilt Stadium as the 4-0 Commodores try to beat Auburn for the first time since 1955 in a game that will be televised on ESPN.
"It is a good opportunity to show the country that Auburn is a team to be reckoned with and when you get that opportunity you have to step up and take it," Tate says as his Tigers, who are ranked 13th and 14th in the major polls this week, try to improve their record to 5-1.