Tigers Do the All-Star Thing in Mobile

Auburn standouts Ben Tate and Antonio Coleman played for the South squad at the annual Senior Bowl all-star game.

Mobile, Ala.--A pair of Auburn graduates made their pro football debuts on Saturday at Ladd Peebles Stadium performing for the losing South squad at the Senior Bowl.

Ben Tate ran the football three times for 17 yards and caught a four-yard pass from Tim Tebow.

Even though his team lost 31-13 to the North squad and even though the weather was cold and damp, Tate said the experience was a good one.

"I think I improved my stock," said Tate, who finished his senior season with a pair of touchdowns in Auburn's Outback Bowl victory over Northwestern.

"It has been a great experience going against these great athletes," Tate told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "It has been a fun time, but it would have been better if we would have come out of here with a W."

Ben Tate is shown in the backfield next to quarterback Tim Tebow.

Tate rushed for 1,362 yards as a senior with 10 rushing touchdowns. The native of Maryland also caught 20 passes for 105 yards.

He and Senior Bowl teammate Antonio Coleman got to show their stuff to pro scouts throughout the week in Mobile. Both former Tigers have received invitations to participate in the NFL?Combine for a more thorough evaluation.

For Coleman the trip to Mobile was a return home to where he was a star at Williamson High School. On Friday officials at his school declared it "Antonio Coleman Day" and Auburn assistant coach Curtis Luper was there to honor the defensive end who finished third in Auburn history for career quarterback sacks.

Antonio Coleman is shown on the sideline on Saturday in Mobile.

Coleman described the event as a "humbling experience" and said a lot of the people in attendance were ones that had a role in helping him develop as a player and a person.

The two-time All-SEC defensive end didn't have any sacks on Saturday, but he managed to make one solo stop with two assists after spending the week practicing with the South squad on the same field where he played in as a high school star.

Next on the agenda for the former Tigers is the NFL?Combine that starts Feb. 24th in Indianapolis and runs through March 2nd at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"I am going to be working hard the next few weeks before I go up there," Tate says. "I hope to represent Auburn and my family well. I hope to do good so my stock with continue to rise."

Tate notes his only complaint for the week was the weather was too cold. "This game is good for Mobile," he notes. "It was a good experience and I had fun. I just wish it was a little more warm."

Antonio Coleman is shown in action at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The South team, coached by the Miami Dolphins staff, never led in the all-star game. With the score 3-3 Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount scored the first touchdown on a 14-yard run in the second quarter.

That lead increased to 17-3 when Austen Lane returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown. There were nine turnovers in the contest with six by the South squad.

The South scored its first touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Zac Robinson to Colin Peek to cut the lead to 17-13 at halftime. However, the North squad, which was coached by the Detroit Lions staff, responded with two second half touchdowns.

Antonio Coleman was credited with three tackles in the all-star game.

Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour, who was named the Most Outstanding Player for the North, ran for a one-yard TD and threw a 32 yard touchdown pass to Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard, who was named the Under Armour Offensive Player of the game after making five catches for 103 yards.

Mississippi State's Jamar Chaney was named the top defensive player with his game-leading total of eight tackles. Tulane's Jeremy Williams was named the Most Outstanding Player for the South team with 82 receiving yards and 27 rushing yards.

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