It’d be easy for the Virginia Tech Hokies to treat their loss to the unranked Duke Blue Devils like the end of the world.
After all, the team had won six straight going into the game against the Blue Devils, and Duke had never won in Lane Stadium before last Saturday.
Frank Beamer and company could have been forgiven for thinking in some apocalyptic terms.
Yet, despite having to play a pair of tough ACC games on the road in the next two weeks, most members of the team remain confident.
“I think most everybody’s forgotten about that loss because, to be honest, nothing really changed,” said linebacker Jack Tyler. “We have all of our goals in front of us, we could still go to the ACC Championship Game, we can still win the ACC Championship, and that was our goal last week.”
The Hokies currently sit one game behind the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC Coastal division, but as Tyler points out, they’re hardly in bad shape.
Miami has the unpleasant task of playing the third-ranked Florida State Seminoles on the road this weekend, and then the Canes will have to face Tech to see which team earns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
“We’re not kind of (in the race), we are,” Beamer said. “It’s up to us, that’s the way I look at it.”
Indeed, as the saying goes, the Hokies do control their own destiny. If they win their remaining four games, they’ll head to Charlotte for the conference title match.
“It was definitely a down feeling, but we know that if we win all our games, we’ll still go to the ACC Championship,” said running back J.C. Coleman.
However, while it may be easy for the team to throw around platitudes about moving on, there’s no denying the psychological effect the Duke loss had on the team.
“It’s very frustrating. Deep down I feel like we really should’ve had that game,” Coleman said. “We out-gained them on yards, time of possession. We just can’t turn the ball over and miss field goals and things like that.”
The Hokies certainly put up solid offensive numbers despite putting only 10 points on the board. Tech possessed the ball for nearly 40 minutes and piled up their third most rushing yards on the season.
Statistics like these tend to unsettle members of the offensive coaching staff when they come with a loss.
“Any loss is horrific,” said offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. “(I) don’t eat, don’t sleep and if it is any other way, then you shouldn’t be in this business.”
Players on the defensive side of the ball are similarly shaken.
“It just sucks because I do feel like we performed at a high level,” said cornerback Antone Exum. “As well as we played, it was the little things.”