A&M preparing for LSU RB Stevan Ridley

IRVING, Texas -- Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter wasn't surprised to learn that Stevan Ridley would be playing in Friday's AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

"We know we've got a heck of a challenge with Ridley," DeRuyter said. "We didn't think it would change their gameplan a whole lot if he didn't play, but they are a much better team when he does play."

Ridley rushed for 86.8 yards per game, fourth-most in the SEC and became the 13th LSU player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He has 14 rushing TDs in 2010.

"He's very, very physical," DeRuyter said. "He has great balance, great vision. The type of running style that they run, he fits it perfectly."

Ridley was initially ruled ineligible for academic dishonesty involving a test, but the NCAA determined he did not violate any of its bylaws and made him eligible to play Friday.

"This is great news," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We put our faith in the system and the NCAA made the right decision. We appreciate the efforts put forth by the NCAA and the LSU administration. We are grateful that the NCAA made this a priority at this time of year. If you believe in the mission of the NCAA, this decision is good for college athletics. I told the team about the news at the end of practice and they’re a happy group."