The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

October 2, 2009

Major gets rousing ovation when honored

MORGANTOWN — They still love the Major at West Virginia.

Major Harris, who quarterbacked an unbeaten 1988 team to the brink of a national championship, returned to Mountaineer Field and was greeted with a long, loud ovation as he was honored for his election to the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Harris. “It’s like back when I was playing. It doesn’t sink in for five or six years.

They played highlights of Harris’ career on the video board.

“I played 20 years ago. I see the highlights now and it looks like a different player,” Harris said.

Harris was the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,000 yards and pass for more than 5,000. In 1988 he led the Mountaineers into the Fiesta Bowl undefeated, facing Notre Dame, but was injured early in the opening quarter and that disrupted the WVU game plan.

“That was like a nightmare,” Harris said. “You play to put yourself in position to win a national championship and then to get hurt, it was like a nightmare.”

Previous Moutnaineer players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame were Ira Errett Rodgers (1957), Joe Stydahar (1972), Sam Huff (1980) and Bruce Bosley (1982).

Former Coach Don Nehlen also was elected to the Hall of Fame.

o o o o o o

For the first time since they lost to Pitt 2007 in a game that would have sent them to a national championship, the Mountaineers broke out their gold-on-gold uniforms for the Gold Rush game against Colorado.

It was just the third time they have worn all gold, having beaten Louisville earlier in 2007 before suffering the startling upset against Pitt.

o o o o o o

Chuck Howley, a one-time West Virginia star who went on to become the first player to win the Super Bowl MVP Award with a losing team as a member of the famed Dallas Cowboys Doomsday Defense, is one of 10 people being inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

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