"We're focusing on the end of the road, but we have to have those process goals along the road," running back Juwan Thompson said of the prospect of Duke becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 1994.
"But after winning six, you have to continue to play the rest of the season. We can't stop here. We have to continue to go toward the ACC championship and getting to a better bowl game," Thompson said.
"Winning six, that doesn't stop us there. We're trying to go for better."
So, too, are the Hokies. Virginia Tech started the season hoping to play its way into the national championship conversation, but had those dreams dashed in a 35-17 loss to then-winless Pittsburgh.
As the only team in the nation with at least 10 wins the past eight years, the Hokies usually come around.
"We've only taken one ACC loss to a good North Carolina team, so everything besides the national championship is still in reach for us," said Exum, a senior. "Those were our goals coming into the season and they're still our goals now. We're not going to fold or lay down or anything like that."
The Blue Devils lost 14-10 at home to the Hokies last season, and typically keep the games close, even though they have lost all eight meetings since Virginia Tech joined the league. Two years ago, however, it was 44-7, prompting coach David Cutcliffe to say he wants his team to show him something Saturday.
"I think it's important for our players to challenge our program to go up there and compete. We didn't do that two years ago," Cutcliffe said. "When you go to Blacksburg, you best bring your best chinstrap and strap it on and you best bring your A-game. Because that's just the way it is."
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AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary contributed from Durham. N.C.