There's a lot on the line, including Georgia Tech's streak of 15 straight bowl seasons. Lee has won Johnson's trust by gradually earning increased playing time through the season.
"I think it's pretty cool, being able to progress throughout the season," Lee said. "Of course I wanted to play early in the season. That's just my nature, that's just the competitor in me. He's done a great job evaluating me and letting me play in key situations."
Johnson said Lee "got a little tired" against North Carolina.
"That's the most he's played," Johnson said.
"That's a learning experience. The more he plays, the better he's going to get. Overall, he had to be happy with the way he played. I mean, he made a ton of big plays. He brought a lot of energy. I think he's coming along great."
Johnson stuck with Lee last week after North Carolina's Tim Scott returned an interception for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
"The worst thing you could have done was take him out," Johnson said. "He's got to go back out there and right the ship and that's what he did. He went back out there and drove the team back down. That will probably help his development more than anything you could ever say or do, and his confidence."
Washington is losing ground to Lee even though he ranks third in the ACC in scoring with 10.2 points per game. Washington is second on the team with 536 yards rushing and easily leads the team with 17 rushing touchdowns.
Johnson said Washington "was cheering Vad on" last week.
"We didn't take him out because he wasn't playing well," said Johnson of Washington. "We took him out because the plan was we give those guys a couple series and see what happens and then Vad did nothing to have me take him out the game.