Auburn's Tate enjoying career turnaround

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn running back Ben Tate has already blown past last year's numbers.

The senior is leading the Southeastern Conference with 724 yards rushing and ranks eighth nationally going into Saturday's game with Kentucky. He had 664 yards last year.

Tate says last season's struggles motivated him during the offseason.

He ran for a career-high 184 yards at Arkansas and scored two touchdowns during an aborted comeback attempt in the third quarter.

Tate has flourished in Gus Malzahn's offensive system, and so has Auburn's running game. The Tigers' 251.8-yard average a game is second in the SEC and seventh nationally.

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks says Tate and Onterio McCalebb are as good as any backs he's seen this season.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)