Georgia Tech (6-5, 5-3 ACC) is headed to the ACC title game in part because of how senior quarterback Tevin Washington has handled the emergence of redshirt freshman Vad Lee this season.
Washington didn't sulk about losing possessions or sharing snaps. He stayed focused on team goals. The result: four straight ACC wins, including last Saturday's 42-24 victory over Duke.
Washington ran for 62 yards and a touchdown and threw for 102 yards and three more scores.
His one-yard TD run, which put Tech ahead 7-0, was his 18th rushing score this season and 36th of his career, breaking school and ACC records for rushing TDs by a quarterback.
"I could care less about the records," Washington said. "I just want to get the wins."
Washington played the first two series, leading the Jackets to a pair of touchdowns, before subbing out for Lee.
"Going into the game, I wanted to make sure we came out with a lot of energy and focus as a senior class," Washington said. "As a team, everybody wanted to go out with a win. It's the last home game and we wanted to play good for our fans."
Washington got to take the final snap, and got a fitting sendoff from the home crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium. He seemed more excited about playing in his first ACC Championship Game.
"It goes back to something we've always talked about: It's now how you start, it's how you finish," he said. "We still have a chance to accomplish all of our goals on our goal board."
Tech head coach Paul Johnson also was pleased with Washington's play and attitude in the home finale.
"I think that (Washington) is the epitome of perseverance," Johnson said. "I couldn't be happier for him to play his last home game and play like he did (vs. Duke)."
The Jackets visit archrival Georgia in Athens on Saturday, trying to stop a skid of 10 losses in the past 11 games to the Bulldogs. Regardless of the outcome, Tech will go to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte -- thanks to Miami's self-imposed bowl ban amid an ongoing NCAA investigation -- and will win its division outright if Miami loses to Duke this weekend.
Some other notable facts and figures from the Yellow Jackets:
• Tech is bowl eligible for the 16th straight year.
• Tech did not a commit a turnover in 86 plays against Duke.
• The Jackets have won four straight ACC games since starting 1-3 in conference play. They finished with a winning ACC record for the fourth time in coach Paul Johnson's five-year tenure.
• Tech's 18-play, 8:31 touchdown drive in the fourth quarter vs. Duke was its longest of the season in terms of plays and time; it was its longest in both categories in a game against Duke since 1975.
B-back Zach Laskey had a career-high 18 carries, topping the 17 he had against Boston College on Oct. 20, against Duke. He went over 500 rushing yards for the season and caught his second TD pass. Laskey finished with 72 rushing yards on 18 carries and two catches for 40 yards.
A-back Robert Godhigh caught 27- and 8-yard TD passes against Duke, joining Stephen Hill as the only Tech players to catch two scoring passes in a game under coach Paul Johnson. Godhigh has seven TDs, four rushing, this season. He has scored a TD in three straight games.
A work in progress
Tech allowed Duke to score touchdowns on all three of the Blue Devils' red-zone possessions. But the defense stiffened in the second half, blanking Duke on its final three possessions. Those drives ended in a punt, a failed fake punt and an interception.
Junior outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu notched two sacks in the win over Duke, giving him seven this season and 16 in his career. ... Sophomore defensive back Jamal Golden, Tech's elite return man, made his second interception, which he returned 19 yards, last week. He also had two tackles and a pass breakup. ... Lee rushed for his ninth TD, tying Billy Lothridge for the fifth-most rushing TDs in a season by a Tech QB. ... A-back Orwin Smith left the win over Duke with an ankle injury and his status for the Georgia game is uncertain. ... Senior defensive end Izaan Cross did not play vs. Duke because of a high fever, ending a streak of 37 straight starts. Freshman Adam Gotsis replaced him and got his first career sack. Gotsis and wideout Anthony Autry, a Norcross grad, are the only true freshmen to start a game this year. ... All 12 seniors were honored before the Duke game with their families. The ceremony also included former linebacker and team captain Julian Burnett, who suffered a career-ending neck injury in the 2011 Sun Bowl.