Oct 6, 2012; Bloomington, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans coach Mark Dantonio coaching on the sidelines against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Michigan State defeated Indiana 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Presence of Aaron Burbridge helped improve Spartans passing attack


When Michigan State released its depth chart last week, many were shocked to see freshman Aaron Burbridge’s name at the top of the wide receivers list. However, eight catches and 134 yards later, it is clear why head coach Mark Dantonio had faith in a player who only had two catches on the season entering the Spartans’ showdown with Indiana on Saturday.

MSU’s passing attack had been stagnant at best through the first five games and when Dantonio was faced with a 17 point deficit against the Hoosiers, it was imperative for the Spartans to throw the ball to get back into the game, gain the lead and hold onto its winning margin during the finals minutes of play.

“In the fourth quarter, I felt throwing the ball in the last six minutes was key in the game,” Dantonio said at his postgame press conference. “Maybe more impressively than anything is the way we came back and the way we played and to me that sends messages to people.”

It certainly sends messages to people, including the ones on Michigan State’s sideline.

With Burbridge making surefire grabs Saturday, there was a sense during the game that quarterback Andrew Maxwell was developing confidence with his pass catchers. Maxwell completed throws to seven different targets, completed 24 passes and threw for 290 yards, all career highs.

Michigan State hopes to use its upgraded passing attack against the Iowa Hawkeyes next Saturday, as the Spartans host them at Spartan Stadium Oct. 13.

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