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Playoffs
01-14-2012, 12:27 PM
Maryland native Tate excited to play at home (http://blog.houstontexans.com/2012/01/14/maryland-native-tate-excited-to-play-at-home/)
Posted by Nick Scurfield (https://twitter.com/#!/nickscurfield) on January 14, 2012 – 8:58 am

Texans running back Ben Tate grew up watching Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he’s playing against them on Sunday in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Tate is from Salisbury, Md., about a two-hour drive to the southeast of Baltimore. He played at Stephen Decatur High School before transferring as a senior to Snow Hill High, where he led his team to the 2005 state championship game at M&T Bank Stadium.

“It’s very exciting to go back home,” Tate said on Thursday. “Of course, all my friends that I grew up with there, they’re a fan of me but not necessarily the team, so they’re all rooting against us. They’re just hoping that I play well.”

Tate said he got about 30 tickets for the Texans’ Oct. 16 game at Baltimore and will be getting plenty again this weekend. He was one of the best players in Maryland high school history, setting state records for career rushing yards (5,920), career offensive yards (6,123) and single-season rushing yards (2,886). He was the Maryland Gatorade State Player of the Year as a senior.

In his second season out of Auburn, Tate ranked seventh in the NFL with 5.4 yards per carry, just 0.2 yards off the league lead. He and Arian Foster were the only NFL running back tandem to both rush for more than 900 yards.

“You can’t even really say he’s a number two back,” said Lewis, the Ravens’ 16th-year veteran and future Hall of Fame inside linebacker. “You got to say that he’s a 1A and 1B, because he comes in and he gives a different kind of slash than Arian does. Arian is a sleek cruiser, and Ben is more of a downhill, quick burst, really get downhill and fight for some tough yards.”


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