The chemistry between Jalen Hurts and Calvin Ridley is alive and well.
After being a nuisance for Mississippi State in the previous two years, Ridley returned to Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville on Saturday to once again frustrate its secondary. The talented junior and former five-star put on a clinic, displaying crisp routes in helping Alabama to a 31-24 win.
Along with Hurts and the Tide’s rushing attack emerging late, Ridley was the difference maker in what was a tightly-contested matchup. He caught five passes for a season-high 171 yards receiving – including two receptions of 60 yards or more to set up scores in the red zone.
Two of his five grabs resulted in first downs, while one in particular – a 31-yard reception with 31 seconds left in regulation – made way for a 26-yard touchdown strike from Hurts to freshman receiver Devonta Smith, to give the Crimson Tide a 31-24 lead with 25 seconds left.
— InsideBamaRecruiting (@RTRnews) November 12, 2017
Ridley’s average of 34.2 yards per catch was his highest of the year, as the Florida native found ways to burn the Bulldogs’ defensive backfield on precise routes.
While he entered the contest with 205 career receptions, his five catches placed him at 210 – which has him at 18 grabs away from tying former Tide standout Amari Cooper (228) for most all-time in school history.
Even with the struggles on defense, four of Ridley’s five catches positioned Alabama to score much needed touchdowns in order to quiet the crowd.
Not only were his five receptions and 171 yards a game-high versus Mississippi State, it also moves the Tide to being No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings for next week. Work must be done at linebacker in preparation for the Iron Bowl; nevertheless, Ridley’s presence the Bulldogs has the squad still undefeated.