Virginia’s defense smothered Georgia Tech’s vaunted triple option offense and the Cavaliers held on to defeat the previously unbeaten and No. 12-ranked Yellow Jackets, 24-21.

The performance by Virginia (4-2) against its Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rivals earned it selection as the Week 7 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2011 College Football Game of the Year contest.

Georgia Tech (6-1) entered the contest with the second-best totals for rushing and total offense in the country and was eager to improve on its best start in nearly half a century. But Virginia’s defense held the Yellow Jackets to 296 total yards — nearly 250 yards below their season average. The Cavaliers also contained Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, who completed just two of eight passes for 24 yards with two interceptions. Washington entered the game having thrown only two interceptions all season long to go with 10 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Cavalier jumped out to a 24-14 halftime lead and hung on to win thanks to its backfield trio of junior Perry Jones, and freshmen Kevin Parks and Clifton Richardson. Virginia’s ground game ate up time off the clock in the second half. For the game, the Cavaliers rolled for 272 yards and two scores on 40 carries, with Jones leading the pack with 152 yards.

A national panel of experts selects the Academy’s College Football Game of the Week. Each week’s winner is then considered for the College Football Game of the Year contest at the end of the regular season.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.