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Georgia Tech notebook: Washington tries to keep his head together in Tech win

ATLANTA -- Tech quarterback Tevin Washington had the new rule instituted by the NCAA to help diminish the effects of concussions hit home twice during the Yellow Jackets' 56-20 win over Virginia on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

The rule mandates that any player that has his helmet knocked off during a play must leave the game and sit out at least one play before returning.

It happened to Washington in two critical situations late in Tech drives in the first half.

Washington believes both instances were a result of a deliberate attempt to dislodge his helmet by the Virginia defense.

"A couple times, I got stood up and they took my helmet up," Washington said. "I really don't like that rule -- (having to) come out (of the game). They got me twice."

The first was on second and goal from the Virginia 1 late in the first quarter, with back-up Vad Lee coming in and being stopped for no gain on a keeper before Washington returned and scored on the next play.

The next time happened in a similar situation in the second quarter, with the Jackets facing second and goal from the Cavaliers' 1. This time, Lee scored when called into the game.

"It's ironic it only came off on the goal line in the scrum," Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "But that's something that's happened to us now two or three games, especially on key plays. But I thought Vad went in and did a good job."

Numbers game

Tech fans were not seeing things. That was Washington wearing uniform No. 40, instead of his customary No. 13, on Saturday.

It's part of a tribute the Jackets are paying to former teammate Julian Burnett, who wore the number the past three seasons before suffering a career-ending injury late last year.

A different Tech player will wear the No. 40 each week for the rest of the season, with Washington following defensive tackle T.J. Barnes (Virginia Tech game) and cornerback Rod Sweeting (Presbyterian) over the first three weeks.

Another uniform combination

Tech's sense of style has gotten a lot of attention early this season, and Saturday was no exception, with the Jackets sporting their third different look in as many weeks.

This one, however, had a much more traditional look, with gold helmets and gold pants, with navy blue stripes down the side.

The jerseys looked a lot like the ones Tech wore in the season opener at Virginia Tech on Labor Day, with the exception of gold accents -- with the navy blue honeycomb outline -- on the sleeves.B-back Injury reportWith redshirt sophomore, and Collins Hill grad, Charles Perkins sitting out Saturday's game with an unspecified injury, Tech's depth at B-back could've been an issue when starter Zach Laskey did not return to the game after halftime with a shoulder injury.

Fortunately, the Jackets were four touchdowns up at the half, allowing reserves Broderick Snoddy and Matt Connors to get valuable playing time, with Conners even contributing a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Johnson said after the game Laskey's injury wasn't considered serious, and he should be ready to go when Miami comes to Bobby Dodd Stadium next week.

"He was available in the second half if we needed him," Johnson said. "But I didn't want to put him back in there."

A dash of Pepper

Tech not only honored the 1951 and 1952 Southeastern Conference championship teams -- the latter of which won a national title -- at halftime, but a prominent member of those teams served as the game's honorary captain.

Pepper Rodgers was a three-year letterwinner and went on to a colorful career as a head coach, including a six-year stint at Tech, during which he guided the Jackets to a 34-31-2 record, including an appearance in the 1978 Peach Bowl at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Strike up the bands

Saturday was Tech's annual band day, in which several metro-Atlanta high school bands are invited to join the Tech band to form a mass band at half-time.

Two Gwinnett schools -- Dacula and South Gwinnett -- were among this year's invitees.