- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 21, 2009

Virginia Tech is focusing on what it can do, not what it can’t.

The No. 16 Hokies can’t win a third consecutive ACC championship. They won’t get another national title shot.

What they can do is have a sixth consecutive 10-win season.

That means not looking past defensively challenged N.C. State when the Wolfpack arrive at Lane Stadium on Saturday for the final home game for Virginia Tech’s seniors.

“That’s a tradition we have around here,” wide receiver Jarrett Boykin said of the 10-win plateau. “We’re going to do everything we can to get to 10 wins. We want to feel good about ourselves at the end.”

The Hokies (7-3, 4-2 ACC) have won two in a row in impressive fashion and need to also win at Virginia and in their bowl game to hit the mark for the sixth season in a row. Only Southern California and Texas have also done it the past five years, and USC (7-3) also needs to win its last two and a bowl game to get to 10 this year.

The visit from the struggling Wolfpack (4-6, 1-5) also falls on the day that 21 seniors will play their final game at home.

“We’ve had a good run,” coach Frank Beamer said of the class, which has played in two BCS games and won the last two ACC championships before falling short this season.

“I like our leadership. I like what they’ve been all about. I think that’s come through in these last two weeks, the way we’ve played after some real disappointment,” he said.

The team has adjusted to its lowered expectations and is rallying.

“We’re not content, but we’re feeling good,” Boykin said. “We’re going to keep practicing hard so we can finish this season off right and feel good about ourselves at the end.”

The Wolfpack are trying to do the same thing, but even a strong finish won’t land them a bowl appearance. Two of their victories - against Murray State and Gardner-Webb - came against lower-division schools, so they needed seven victories to reach the postseason.

The goal now?

“Respect in the conference,” wide receiver Owen Spencer said. “We know a bowl game is not in sight right now, but we can show a lot of character and how much heart and fight we have left by going out and winning our last two games. That would be real big for our program.”

Defensive end Willie Young said the players owe it to one another not to let up.

“As long as we’re breathing, we’ve got something to play for,” he said.

Sophomore quarterback Russell Wilson leads the ACC in touchdown passes but has also thrown 10 interceptions. He’s third in the league in passing efficiency, which leaves him two spots behind Tyrod Taylor.

And Taylor has more help because Ryan Williams leads the league in rushing with an average of 123.5 yards, has scored 12 touchdowns, and is a dangerous receiver as well.

He needs just 31 rushing yards to break teammate Darren Evans’ ACC record of 1,265 rushing yards by a freshman. Evans was sidelined before the season by a knee injury.

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