Running back’s punishing style a sparkplug for Tigers
If I had to take a hit from anybody, it wouldn’t be Spencer Ware. He’s a guy who’s going to put everything into it and fight for that extra yard.” josh dworaczyk, LSU tackle
AUBURN, Ala. - With the LSU offense facing third-and-4 and two-and-a-half minutes left in Saturday night's game at Jordan-Hare Stadium, quarterback Zach Mettenberger received word the Tigers would run a throwback pass to Spencer Ware in the left flat.
"I know that was potentially a big play for us," Mettenberger said later.
It became the play of the game.
Ware stepped in front of Auburn linebacker Jonathan Evans to corral the looping throw, then shoved him to the ground near the sideline. From there, Ware had a clear path to a back-breaking 33-yard gain.
The next time Auburn got the ball, only 39 seconds were left and a 12-10 win was virtually secure.
Just don't ask Ware how it all happened.
"I saw (Evans) out the corner of my eye when the ball was in the air," Ware said. "That's why I came up to make the catch. Whatever happened after that, I really don't remember. It must have been instincts."
Ware's instincts not only helped make the decisive play, but also allowed the hard-nosed junior runner to churn out a game-high 90 yards rushing on 16 carries.
The breakout performance of his 2012 campaign came at just the right time considering LSU entered its Southeastern Conference opener without No. 1 running back Alfred Blue, who went down with a knee injury against Idaho a week earlier and is out indefinitely.
Ware himself had battled injuries, including a turf toe that kept him on the sideline a week earlier.
"We missed Alfred. We send our prayers to him and hope he gets better," Ware said. "But we had business to handle tonight."
Blue may be the most complete of LSU's running backs, but all of them - and there are many - bring a little something different to the table. Ware brings the boom.
A former five-star recruit who packs all kinds of power inside a muscular, 5-foot-11, 225-pound frame, Ware generally explodes out of his stance as if shot out of a cannon and rarely finishes a run without lowering his helmet and shoulder pads.
His legs forever churn.
"If I had to take a hit from anybody, it wouldn't be Spencer Ware," LSU tackle Josh Dworaczyk said. "He's a guy who's going to put everything into it and fight for that extra yard."
Ware's punishing style was on full display Saturday as he led an LSU ground attack that finished with 182 yards.
"He was our sparkplug tonight," Dworaczyk said.
Ware said the sealing catch-and-run wasn't something he looked forward to seeing on a replay later. Even if he doesn't remember it all that well.
"This game is over with," he said. "We can't look back."
Such an outlook seems appropriate for a man whose personality on the field knows only one direction. A man whose legs forever churn.