The trick now for Virginia Tech is not believing the hype.
Fresh off a 49-0 victory against Boston College that matched their largest victory margin in an Atlantic Coast Conference game, the Hokies welcome East Carolina this weekend.
The Pirates (2-1) figure to be especially motivated after a 20-15 loss to South Carolina in which they had four trips inside the Gamecocks 20-yard line that yielded nothing because of three turnovers and a missed field goal.
“As we move forward, we have to understand that those things we did from a mistake standpoint, we were able to see that very easy on tape,” first-year Pirates coach Scottie Montgomery said this week.
“Sometimes when you lose games, guys want to look around and try to figure out why we lost.
“This week, it was very clear why we lost.”
The Hokies (2-1), meantime, posted their first shutout since 2012 and limited the Eagles to 124 yards.
And they have history on their side in the series — as motivation. The Pirates have won the past two meetings, each time by a touchdown, so the Hokies know they are a formidable opponent.
“It’s a great team they have our respect,” defensive tackle Ricky Walker said. “We’re just getting ready to face these guys. … They have our respect. We’re just looking forward to playing them Saturday inside Lane.”
Hokies first-year coach Justin Fuente asks his team to break the season down into 12 one-week challenges, to dismiss the past and focus on the future.
It’s an approach that seems to resonate with his team. It helps that East Carolina has won six in a row against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I think it starts with us,” Hokies linebacker Tremaine Edwards said. “We have to prepare this week, come out to practice each and every day, prepare like a team, prepare to go get a win, prepare to go 1-0.”
Fuente knows the Hokies’ rout of Boston College can present a challenge going forward.
“That’s why you see upsets every week. That’s why you see disappointing performances, because these kids have other things that are going through their lives as well, on top of the football games,” he said.
“You have exams and girlfriends and family members and all sorts of things, so maintaining your focus week in and week out, the emotions, the ups and downs, the bottom line is there are some games you play on an emotional high and some games where you have to work really hard to get up for.
“But we lay the groundwork that it’s 12 one-game seasons, and regardless of the outcome, you have to turn the page and throw your focus into the next game is the only way I know how to do it.
“Approach every Tuesday the same: the same level of intensity, the same demanding demeanor that we have on the practice field.
“We’re not going to settle for anything less than our guys’ best. And that’s what I told them yesterday, in so many words.
“If you think this Tuesday is going to be any different than last Tuesday, you’re wrong. We absolutely have things that we need to fix, and a great focus that we’ve got to bring into this game.”