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The 'other' back in Alabama is having a great year

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Alabama’s Mark Ingram is getting all the love nationally and being mentioned prominently in the Heisman Trophy race, but there’s another running back in the state of Alabama who’s having an All-America type season.

Auburn’s Ben Tate leads the SEC with 1,067 rushing yards, although he’s played in one more game than Ingram or Mississippi State’s Anthony Dixon.

Tate’s consistency this season has been especially impressive. He hasn’t had a game where he’s rushed for fewer than 63 yards and has averaged 131 yards in his last five outings.

What’s more, Auburn coach Gene Chizik couldn’t be prouder of Tate and the way he’s responded to carrying a heavier load offensively these last few weeks and the way he’s become a leader on this team.

“He’s already hit the 1,000-yard landmark, and that’s hard to do this early in the season, especially in this league,” Chizik said. “He’s done a really nice job of staying focused and being a team leader. I think Ben’s grown up a lot and done what we’ve asked him to do in every way, shape and form.

“There’s nothing that we’ve asked him to do that he hasn’t done. I just think that he’s seeing the things he’s doing on and off the field are paying off. He’s already graduated, and he’s concentrating on football and football only right now. I think that’s been very beneficial for him.”

Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News had an interesting comparison of Ingram and Tate earlier this week in games against common opponents – Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tennessee.

Tate actually has the better numbers in those games in four main categories:

  • Carries: 103 to 85.

  • Yards: 588 to 461.

  • Yards per carry: 5.7 to 5.4.

  • Yards per game: 147 to 115.3.

So who's the best running back in the state of Alabama?

There's a lot of football left to be played, but it might end up being the guy who doesn't get invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.