In Tuesday’s press conference, Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio confirmed that tight end Dion Sims, the Spartans leading receiver, will not play this week against Iowa.
Sims suffered an injury to his left ankle early in Saturday’s 31-27 comeback victory against Indiana and spent all of the second half in street clothes and a protective boot.
The junior tight end has 24 catches for 313 yards and two touchdowns for MSU this season, and has been the most consistent player on the offense.
With the passing game already in disarray, who will step up this Saturday to replace the productivity of Sims?
Two words, Aaron Burbridge.
The freshman receiver jumped on the scene with a huge performance last week against Indiana which earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
Burbridge set an MSU single-game freshman record with 134 receiving yards on eight catches as he looked like the solution to all the Spartans receiver problems.
While more experienced receivers like Tony Lippett, Bennie Fowler and Keith Mumphery have failed to distinguish themselves from the inexperienced receivers, the MSU coaching staff realized that it’s time for the youngster to prove that he can be that go-to guy for quarterback Andrew Maxwell.
Burbridge showed and proved that he could be THAT guy for the Spartans passing attack, and in the absence of their best statistical receiver this Saturday watch for the freshman to be targeted very frequently.
However, targets don’t matter if you don’t catch the ball, and that’s where Burbridge can separate himself from the rest of the pack.