Hok­ies seek 10-win plateau

Vir­ginia Tech plays Pitt on Satur­day

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Hank Kurz Jr.

Vir­ginia Tech quar­ter­back Josh Jack­son be­lieves the Hok­ies still have plenty of rea­sons to be mo­ti­vated to fin­ish strong even though back-to-back losses have taken them out of con­tention for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive trip to the ACC cham­pi­onship game.

Jack­son said if they win their last two reg­u­lar sea­son games and their bowl game, the Hok­ies will not only send their se­niors out on a high note in their fi­nal home game, but they will se­cure an­other 10-win sea­son.

The Hok­ies (7-3, 3-3 At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence) won at least 10 games in eight con­sec­u­tive sea­sons from 2004-11, at the time the long­est such streak in the na­tion. They didn’t achieve the mile­stone again un­til last sea­son, their first un­der coach Justin Fuente.

“I wouldn’t say our mind­set has changed” be­cause of the losses, Jack­son said Tues­day. “We’re prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit more hun­gry.”

The Hok­ies face long­time Big East ri­val Pitts­burgh (4-6, 2-4) on Satur­day at Lane Sta­dium, and while the Pan­thers have strug­gled this sea­son, they have beaten Vir­ginia Tech in six of their last eight meet­ings. Pitt needs to beat the Hok­ies and then No. 2 Mi­ami to qual­ify for a bowl for the 10th straight year.

The Pan­thers have won two of their last three be­hind a resur­gent run­ning game led by ju­nior Dar­rin Hall, who has three con­sec­u­tive 100-yard ef­forts.

“He’s do­ing a good job set­ting up blocks,” coach Pat Nar­duzzi said. “He’s help­ing our O-line out. When you watch him, he’s press­ing the line of scrim­mage, mak­ing ev­ery­body flow, then he cuts it back, makes the O-line bet­ter, and those are all things that I guess take a lit­tle bit of time to fig­ure it out.”

STEVE HELBER/AP

Vir­ginia Tech quar­ter­back Josh Jack­son says two straight losses have the Hok­ies hun­grier for their last three games.

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