With West Virginia on the cusp of playing for a national championship, it seems like a good time to look back nearly 20 years to the only other time in WVU football history that they've played for such high stakes. The similarities between the 1988 Fiesta Bowl Mountaineers and the 2007 Mountaineers are striking...and, obviously, they start at quarterback.
Major Harris is, arguably, the greatest, or at least stated as the greatest, quarterback in Mountaineer history. In his 3 years, Major accounted for 7,334 total yards of offense. With two games left to play this year, Pat White has 7,293 total yards of offense. Major's total rushing yards for 3-years totalled 2,161 yards. Pat White has 3,315 rushing yards through his first 3-years (with 2 games to play). That obviously gives Major the passing yards lead over Pat -- Harris went 324-for-586 for 5,173 yards and 41 touchdowns. White is 312-for-480 (better percentage) for 3,981 yards and 33 touchdowns.
It's easy to see the stats and say that Pat White will clearly surpass Major Harris in numbers. But you have to remember that Major Harris helped change the game of football. Most people had never seen a quarterback run the way Major Harris could run the ball. And the guy could pass too, evidenced by his 5000+ yards in the air. Major changed quarterbacks forever. And Pat White is invoking his memory with some of the explosive runs we see. Pat White comes into a world where the quarterback is expected to be able to move and make plays. Major Harris helped shape that world.
I'll continue to look back on that 1988 teams as the next few weeks unfold (if we beat Pittsburgh, that is) and we'll look at the amazing receivers Major threw too and the defense that gave West Virginia one of the most memorable victories in Mountaineer history.