Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, right, runs the ball against the defense of Duke's C.J. France in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
ATLANTA -- Tevin Washington was watching from Georgia Tech's sideline in 2008 when the Yellow Jackets won at Georgia. Because he didn't play, he didn't leave with a piece of the famous Sanford Stadium hedges.
The win, in Paul Johnson's first season as Georgia Tech's coach, was seen by some as a possible end of the Bulldogs' domination of the state rivalry.
Instead, Washington and the Yellow Jackets have since lost three straight to Georgia. Now the quarterback has a chance for a memorable finish to his career and his own piece of the hedges.
After a dismal 2-4 start to the season, Georgia Tech (6-5) has won three straight. The Yellow Jackets will play in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game next week, when an Orange Bowl berth will be at stake.
Washington said a win Saturday at No. 3 Georgia would be more than a dramatic final regular-season game for his senior class. The quarterback said beating the Bulldogs would put the Yellow Jackets in position for a successful postseason and give the program momentum for the future.
"I think it would set the tone for us going forward, for Georgia Tech as a program, moving forward with the rivalry and also moving on to next week," Washington said. "They've beat us the last three, so it would be good to get it going the other way this time around."
Washington was redshirted as a freshman in 2008, when the Yellow Jackets rallied for a stunning 45-42 win over the Bulldogs.
"That was just a good feeling to be able to go in there and get a victory," Washington said Tuesday. "They've gotten the best of us the last few times. Our whole mindset is to take care of business and try to swing this thing going the other way."
Johnson's spread-option offense has taken an unorthodox route to impressive production the last three weeks. The Yellow Jackets have averaged 47.7 points in three straight wins over Maryland, North Carolina and Duke, but it's been difficult to predict the playing time of Washington and freshman Vad Lee at quarterback.
Lee took over after the first two series and played the remainder of the game in a wild 68-50 win over North Carolina on Nov. 10. Lee made only a brief appearance behind Washington in last week's 42-24 win over Duke.
Lee has earned an increased share of the playing time even though Washington has done nothing to lose the job.
Washington has started every game, and he has set a school and ACC record for quarterbacks with 36 career rushing touchdowns, including 18 this season. He also has fairly good passing numbers for a spread-option quarterback, as he has completed 59 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and only three interceptions.