Monday huddle: Is Justin Fuente’s seat getting too hot?

Justin Fuente speaks at media day before fall camp 2021 (WSLS-TV/ Virginia Tech Athletics)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene.

Changes could be coming in Blacksburg.

One head coaching domino already has fallen in college football, with LSU and Ed Orgeron reaching a separation agreement to where Orgeron, despite leading LSU to a national championship less than two years ago, won’t be the head coach of the program in 2022.

Given the way things are going, there could eventually be another coaching domino falling in Blacksburg.

Following an inept performance in a 28-7 home loss to Pitt on Saturday, Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente might be on thin ice.

Fuente’s record with the Hokies since taking over for Frank Beamer in 2016 is now 41-29, but more notably, it’s 22-21 since 2018.

The offense certainly didn’t seem to show it was making much progress against Pitt, scoring just one third-quarter touchdown and seeing quarterback Braxton Burmeister go 11-of-32 for 134 yards in the game.

The loss to Pitt, which is unbeaten in the ACC Coastal, put the Hokies essentially two games behind the Panthers in the standings, with Pitt now holding a head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning it’s a major uphill climb for Virginia Tech to advance to the conference championship game.

Of note -- should Virginia Tech decide to part ways with Fuente at the end of the season, they would owe him a $10 million buyout, according to USA Today.

An ugly loss for Liberty

The most noteworthy upset this week might have been Purdue’s win at No. 2 Iowa, but from a betting-line standpoint, there wasn’t a more shocking upset than Liberty’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

Liberty entered the game as a 32.5-point favorite, but saw Louisiana-Monroe score 28 points in the third quarter to take a 28-14 lead.

The Flames rallied in the fourth quarter, but a 53-yard field goal by Louisiana-Monroe’s Calum Sutherland with 1:44 remaining proved to be the difference in a 31-28 game.

Liberty fell to 5-2 on the season.

Cavaliers roll against Duke

The bright light for college teams in the state over the weekend was Virginia, which made life much easier on its fans with a blowout win over Duke, 48-0.

Virginia was coming off two wins, one at Miami and the other at Louisville, where each opponent missed what would’ve been game-winning field goals on the last play of the game.

There was no such dramatic ending against Duke for Virginia, which shut out a conference opponent for the first time since 2008.

The Cavaliers are now 5-2 overall and have won three straight going into a home contest against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.