Burbridge emerging for Michigan State

Junior wide receiver showing he can be a good complement to senior Tony Lippett after having a pair of catches, including a touchdown, against Purdue.

Michigan State knows its clear No. 1 receiver is Tony Lippett, but behind the senior, the Spartans have seen a variety of players step up on the other side.

The past two weeks, that player has been junior Aaron Burbridge.

Against Nebraska, Burbridge had a pair of catches for 37 yards – and just missed an leaping catch down the sideline.

Against Purdue on Saturday, Burbridge converted on an acrobatic catch for a 13-yard touchdown in the Spartans’ 45-31 win. He said it was good redemption to get a toe down and make the play.

“The ball was kind of high, so I knew I had to jump for it and I was in the back of the end zone, so I looked down and tried to get my toe in and they called it a touchdown this game,” he said.

He finished with two catches for 21 yards and the touchdown, as well as three rushes for 17 yards – with both catches and two of the rushes coming on the touchdown drive.

He might have had even more, as he was targeted once earlier on the drive.

“Prior to that (touchdown), they called four plays in a row that were designed for me to get the ball,” he said. “I’m dead tired and they called that, so I had to get my mind right that this could be the play that I score.”

The result was his first touchdown of the year, but seeing his number called time and time again gave him confidence as well.

“Every time my name is called, I think I’m going to make the big play or get a touchdown and that is what happened,” Burbridge said.

He appreciates the coaches having trust in him to call plays for him, something that started with a good preseason camp.

“Burb had a great camp and in practice when you throw him the ball, he catches it,” quarterback Connor Cook said. “You saw it last week against Nebraska, he made some great catches. Tonight, we saw some great plays by him, too.”

So as Lippett continues to put up big numbers – eight touchdowns in six games – the Spartans know there are other weapons on the outside.

“I feel like we have one of the top receiving corps in the nation and we’ve got a great quarterback in Connor who can spread the ball out and get it to all of us,” Burbridge said.

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