A&M Cotton Bowl opponent suffers blow

December, 23, 2010
12/23/10
9:00
AM CT
Texas A&M already had the Big 12's best rushing defense, giving up just over 117 yards a game, 20 fewer than anyone else in the conference.

The assignment for the Aggies' defense may get a little easier for the Jan. 7 Cotton Bowl after LSU's top rusher, Stevan Ridley, was ruled ineligible and barring reinstatement, will miss the game.

"This was a one-time incident," LSU coach Les Miles said, declining to get into specifics. "The school has been compliant. Ridley has been compliant. We are appealing it. We are making our case."

Ridley carried the ball 225 times for 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns, becoming just the 13th player in school history to record a 1,000-yard rushing season.

Redshirt freshman Michael Ford and senior Richard Murphy would replace Ridley if he isn't reinstated, but neither player has more than 41 carries on the season.

Ridley's 225 were second most among running backs in the SEC.

Texas A&M and LSU have the Big 12's best bowl matchup, and it figured to be a physical, low-scoring game similar to the Aggies' 9-6 win over Nebraska earlier this season.

It may still be, but the onus to keep it low scoring falls on LSU's defense. The Tigers' passing offense ranked last in the SEC, and unless Ridley can get back on the field, don't look for the Tigers' offense to do much.

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