BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister put himself in some dangerous situations against Middle Tennessee in Week 2.
Burmeister took some big hits fighting for extra yardage when he got out into the open.
The most dangerous place for him a week later against West Virginia was just standing in the pocket. Burmeister was battered around in the 27-21 loss with the Mountaineers and under constant pressure from all sides.
One of the more vicious hits came in the third quarter when West Virginia linebacker Jared Bartlett beat Luke Tenuta on the left side and crushed an unsuspecting Burmeister with all his weight.
“I thought he competed his tail off,” Fuente said. “I thought he laid it on the line for his football team. I mean, I don’t think there’s any way anybody could question anything else. The guy just continued to keep getting up and continued to keep trying to make plays and keep trying to keep us in the game. I was really impressed.”
Burmeister threw for 223 yards (19 of 31) and had two touchdowns and had 16 carries for 11 rushing yards in the loss.
After struggling for much of the first half, Burmeister made a series of plays as Tech tried to comeback from a 20-point deficit.
In the third quarter, he threw a 39-yard completion down Tech’s sideline to tight end Drake DeIuliis. He also kept the drive alive by scrambling for a 25-yard gain with the offense facing a third and 24. The drive ended with running back Raheem Blackshear scoring a 20-yard touchdown.
Burmiester found Jalen Holston on a check down for a 29-yard score in the fourth quarter. He completed passes to Tre Turner and Kaleb Smith for first downs to set up the touchdown.
But concerns about the team’s passing game remain.
Burmeister didn’t get anything down field in the first half with Tech averaging only 9.6 yards per completion (West Virginia averaged 15.7 yards per completion in the half) and a pair of incompletions at the end of the second quarter in the end zone to Tayvion Robinson were costly. One of those was tipped at the line of scrimmage by a defender.
According to Pro Football Focus, Burmeister was 5 of 13 on throws of 10 yards or more for 98 yards with a touchdown.
“As far as the execution of it all, I have to look at it and see, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that he was giving it his all,” Fuente said.
Without looking at the film, Fuente said he didn’t feel like Burmeister was holding onto the ball too long.
“Certainly there have been times, but usually when he’s holding onto it, he’s on the move,” Fuente said. “The couple times we got sacked in the pocket there, I mean, I didn’t really feel like that was because we were holding the ball too long.
One of the best throws he made all day was a 23-yard touchdown pass to Tayvion Robinson in the first quarter. Burmeister threw it over the defender’s right down the middle for Robinson to go up and get the ball. He made a similar throw to Kaleb Smith at the sidelines later in the game.
Burmeister has been reluctant through the first three games to throw in such a tight window.
Tech’s passing offense is averaging 183.7 yards per game (ranked No. 105 out of 130 FBS teams) and only averaging 7.1 yards per attempt. Burmeister has 534 yards (60.8%) with four touchdowns and an interception.