Tate Pleased With Offensive Performance

Auburn running back Ben Tate talks about the play of the offense in the win over Tennessee and how he's rewarding his blockers this week.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn came into Saturday night's game against Tennessee an offense on a roll, but facing the vaunted Volunteer defense that couldn't continue right?

Well it didn't in some ways as the Tigers were held down to 26 points, but Auburn's offense rolled to 459 yards of total offense in the win. That's 136 more yards and three more points than the top-ranked Florida Gators scored on Tennessee at home.

The numbers on the ground are perhaps even more impressive as the Tigers ran the ball 48 times for 224 yards and one touchdown. Senior running back Ben Tate was the leader of the pack on the ground with 25 carries for 128 yards, including a second quarter touchdown that gave Auburn some early breathing room on the way to a huge win. Tate said the win was a big one for his team because it shows them what it takes to win on the road.

"It just let everyone know that we are for real," Tate said. "It gives us confidence in ourselves too because they are one of the best defenses in the country with one of the best defensive coordinators in the country. That just shows us that our hard work is paying off.

"It was big going to Tennessee (and winning) because they are better than what their record shows," he added. "I guess every SEC team is going to be tough no matter what their record is. They were a pretty tough team with a good defense. It meant a lot to go up there in front of 100,000 and come out with a win."

This season has started off in grand fashion for Tate as he has already rushed for 540 yards and two touchdowns on 97 carries this season. He's just 126 yards away from his full season total from last year with 62 fewer carries this season. While the offensive change has been a huge part of the reason for his success, Tate said the guys blocking for him are getting the job done and he's prepared to show them how much he appreciates it.

"For those guys' efforts I'm taking them all out to eat," Tate said. "I'll probably take them to Golden Corral or something like that. I don't have that much money (he said with a smile). I always told them that if I ran for like 150 yards or 200 yards in certain games, but I never got to it. This time I just told them if I hit about the 130 mark I would take them out to eat."

One of the players joining the table this week is junior guard Bart Eddins. Playing for suspended starter Byron Isom, Eddins did a solid job in his first career start and made some key blocks to help Tate spring runs.

"I think he did a pretty good job, especially in run blocking," Tate said. "He gave all the effort he can give. He's got a bad knee and he was still out there giving it his all. You could tell he played hard."

Another player that will be joining them is sophomore Eric Smith. A do-it-all player for the Tigers on offense, Smith plays a big part in the running game as a lead blocker in several formations. Tate said Smith just brings so much to the table for the Tigers and is a big reason for the success this season.

"He's a team player," Tate said. "He lays it on the line. He's a great blocker. He brings a hat to those guys. He was knocking those linebackers all over the place. Some people don't realize exactly what he does for us. I see him and I appreciate it and I let him know that too. He did a heck of a job blocking."

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