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Sammie Coates puts injury aside in his final Auburn game
Jan. 1, 2015

Sammie Coates caught four passes in his final game for Auburn

By Charles Goldberg

TAMPA, Fla.  Sammie Coates could have looked at his sore knee, considered his NFL future and maybe sat out of the Outback Bowl.

But that's not Sammie Coates.

The junior receiver said he wanted to play and always planned to play in his final Auburn game. He did enough in practice to get the go-ahead and the junior who said he'll enter the NFL Draft caught four passes for 24 yards in Auburn's 34-31 overtime loss to Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on Thursday. 

It wasn't like his record-setting performance against Alabama in the previous game, when he had an Auburn Iron Bowl-record 206 receiving yards, but it said something about Sammie Coates.

"I don't care how banged up I was going to be, I was going to play the game," Coates said. "I'd say I was 85 percent. But I went out there and played for them, I played for myself and I played for Auburn. I didn't care how I felt, I just had to go out there and give it my all."

Coach Gus Malzahn said Coates "had trouble practicing until the last day or so. He wasn't 100 percent. I think everybody could see that. 

"He's been a big factor for us the last two years, even if he's not 100 percent, he's important."

Williams' absence hurt, "probably a lot," Malzahn said. Still, Nick Marshall hit 15-of-22 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He threw for a school-record 456 yards against Alabama when he had a heathier Coates and Duke Williams on the field at the same time. But Williams, Auburn's leading receiver, didn't play after he broke an undisclosed team rule. Quan Bray led Auburn with five catches in his final game. Marcus Davis had two. Five other players had one catch, including a throw-back pass to Marshall.

Coates finished the season with 34 catches for 741 yards and four touchdowns. Williams had 45 catches for 730 yards and five touchdowns.

Coates said he wasn't in too much pain, except maybe for the loss.

"It was really difficult," Coates said. "It was the last time I was going to battle with them, and to come out with a loss it really hurts. This was the last time I get to play with these boys and I love them so much, of course you want to do everything you can to come out with a win."

Coates said Auburn played on without Williams.

"It's no different," he said. "We've got a lot of great guys that can make plays at any given time.

"To have teammates that will step up when someone is down, we did that today."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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