1989 West Virginia Mountaineers football team
The 1989 West Virginia Mountaineers football team represented West Virginia University in the 1989 NCAA Division I-A football season. It was the Mountaineers' 97th overall season and they competed as a Division I-A Independent. The team was led by head coach Don Nehlen, in his tenth year, and played their home games at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. They finished the season with a record of eight wins, three losses and one tie (8–3–1 overall), and earned a Gator Bowl berth against No. 14 Clemson, where they were defeated 27–7.
|1989 West Virginia Mountaineers football|
|Head coach||Don Nehlen (10th season)|
|Home stadium||Mountaineer Field|
|1989 Division I-A independents football records|
|No. 1 Miami (FL)||–||11||–||1||–||0|
|No. 2 Notre Dame||–||12||–||1||–||0|
|No. 3 Florida State||–||10||–||2||–||0|
|No. 15 Penn State||–||8||–||3||–||1|
|No. 17 Pittsburgh||–||8||–||3||–||1|
|No. 21 West Virginia||–||8||–||3||–||1|
|Rankings from AP Poll|
|September 2||Ball State*||No. 17||W 35–10||57,866|
|September 9||at Maryland*||No. 17||W 14–10||45,000|
|September 16||South Carolina*||No. 12||W 45–21||66,015|
|September 23||at Louisville*||No. 9||W 30–21||39,132|
|September 30||No. 10 Pitt*||No. 9||T 31–31||68,938|
|October 7||Virginia Tech*||No. 9||L 10–12||62,563|
|October 21||Cincinnati*||No. 18||W 69–3||47,176|
|October 28||at Boston College*||No. 15||W 44–30||32,000|
|November 4||at No. 16 Penn State*||No. 13||L 9–19||85,911|
|November 11||Rutgers*||No. 19||W 21–20||61,336|
|November 24||at Syracuse*||No. 17||W 24–17||46,757|
|December 30||vs. No. 14 Clemson*||No. 17||L 7–27||82,911|
Coming off of its first ever 11-win season and with junior Major Harris returning to lead a potent offense, West Virginia entered the 1989 season ranked 17th in the AP Poll and with high expectations. The Mountaineers started the season accordingly, racing to a 4-0 record and to #9 in the AP Poll. In Week 5 against #10 Pitt, however, West Virginia fell victim to another memorable collapse in the Backyard Brawl. Trailing 31-9 in the 4th quarter, Pitt scored 22 unanswered points and kicked a game-tying field goal as time expired to force a 31-31 tie. The Mountaineers would suffer another heartbreaking result the following week with a 12-10 home loss to Virginia Tech, as well as a 19-9 loss to #16 Penn State in State College. Despite those disappointing defeats, WVU finished the regular season at 8-2-1, a #17 ranking in the AP Poll, and a trip to the Gator Bowl to face #14 Clemson. The Mountaineers faltered, however, losing 27-7 and finished the season at 8-3-1 with a #21 ranking in the final AP Poll.
|1989 West Virginia Mountaineers football team roster|
All stats are courtesy of WVUStats.com unless otherwise cited.
- Major Harris - 142/245, 2,058 yards, 17 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
- Major Harris - 155 carries, 936 yards, 6.0 average per carry, six touchdowns
- Garrett Ford, Jr. - 148 carries, 733 yards, 5.0 average per carry, six touchdowns
- Reggie Rembert - 47 receptions, 850 yards, 11 touchdowns
- Preston Waters - 7 interceptions
- DeVault, Mark. "WVU 1989 Schedule". WVU Stats (West Virginia University Athletics). Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- Antonik, John; Scuillo, Sam (December 1, 2007). "Tales from the Backyard Brawl". MSN Sportsnet (West Virginia University Athletics). Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- DeVault, Mark. "WVU 1989 Schedule". WVU Stats (West Virginia University Athletics). Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- DeVault, Mark. "WVU 1989 Statistics". WVU Stats (West Virginia University Athletics). Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved January 17, 2012.