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Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Stepping up in the bowls: LSU

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

LSU squares off against Texas A&M in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. The Tigers (10-2) were playing some of the best football in the SEC until ending the regular season with a 31-23 loss at Arkansas, costing them a BCS bowl trip.

A win over the Aggies would give Les Miles his fourth 11-win season in six years as LSU's coach. The Tigers are 4-1 in bowl games under Miles.

Who needs to step up for LSU?

Junior running back Stevan Ridley: For all the criticism about LSU's offense this season, the Tigers did have a 1,000-yard rusher. Ridley was one of the few things the Tigers could bank on this season on the offensive side of the ball. Give him credit, too, for hanging in there after fumbling twice in the opener against North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Ridley heads into the Cotton Bowl with 1,042 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Had it not been for him in some games, the Tigers would have been completely AWOL on offense. A tough, powerful runner, Ridley also showed some burst this season and is one of those guys who just has a way of moving the chains. His ability to run the ball on first and second down will be critical against Texas A&M. The last thing LSU wants to do is be in a bunch of obvious passing situations on third down. The Tigers threw an SEC-low seven touchdown passes this season to go along with 10 interceptions. The better scenario would be leaning on Ridley, shortening the game and keeping Texas A&M's high-powered offense off the field.