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Jackets, Hokies tangle on big stage again
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    The stage always seems big when No. 10 Virginia Tech and No. 20 Georgia Tech meet.
    It's no different this year. The game Thursday night in Atlanta will give the winner a leg up in the chase for the ACC's Coastal Division title, and may represent the biggest game yet for first-year quarterbacks Logan Thomas of the Hokies and the Yellow Jackets' Tevin Washington.
    Both know the stakes are high, but they are trying to approach it as just another game.
    "I think we should approach every game the same way, and I've done that thus far," Thomas, a redshirt sophomore, said Tuesday. "I am superstitious a little bit, but there's nothing that I change throughout the week. So hopefully I stay the same."
    The Hokies (8-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) lead the division, but could fall behind either the Yellow Jackets (7-2, 4-2) or Virginia (6-3, 3-2) if they lose to either team.
    Washington isn't quite as new to this particular stage. He relieved an injured Joshua Nesbitt last season when the Yellow Jackets lost 28-21 on a Thursday night at Lane Stadium.
    Washington led them on a game-tying touchdown march leading to Orwin Smith's 9-yard run with 2:34 left, but David Wilson returned the ensuing kickoff for the winning TD for the Hokies.
    Losing that game, Washington said, has stayed with him ever since.
    "That's been motivation to me for a lot of things, through the whole offseason, up to this point now," he said. "I'm just ready to go play Thursday and come out and give it my best shot."
    Thomas has plenty of motivation, too.
    The Hokies' offense started slow this season, then played better as Thomas grew more comfortable. But managing just 14 points in their last game at Duke raised questions again.
    "I think we kind of have that chip on our shoulder that we have to prove ourselves every week," he said. "We're always doubted as an offense. The defense is always known, but we're always doubted as an offense. Yeah, I think it's about that time that we go out there and show what we're capable of."