Getting the ball into Calvin Ridley's hands proved to be a challenge for the Alabama offense Saturday, but each time it did, the junior made a big difference.
The Crimson Tide star caught three passes for a game-high 61 yards as the LSU pass rush made it difficult for Alabama QB Jalen Hurts to find downfield targets. Ridley's speed and prowess as a route runner make him one of the top underclassmen in college football; he'll decide after the season whether to apply for early eligibility to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Alabama beat the visiting rival Tigers, 24-10, to improve to 9-0.
Ridley caught a key pass on each of Alabama's three touchdown drives, beginning with a third-and-11 conversion from the Alabama 9-yard line for a gain of 15. That play was crucial in extending a 90-yard drive for a 7-0 Alabama lead. Later in the first half, Hurts found Ridley for a gain of 24 to convert another third down, setting up a 9-yard Bo Scarbrough touchdown run on the next play. Ridley caught his final pass for 22 yards to the LSU 3-yard line, setting up the game-clinching score on a run by Hurts. A few plays earlier, Ridley had a 31-yard completion erased on a holding penalty when Alabama's Jonah Williams was flagged for grabbing Tigers star pass rusher Arden Key.
With Alabama relying heavily on its rushing attack this season, Ridley's production has been off his career pace. He has 44 catches this season for 584 yards and two touchdowns. Next week, he'll face Mississippi State, which entered Week 10 with the fourth-ranked pass defense in the nation at 158 yards per game.