Despite Skyler Howard’s roller-coaster of a season, he is about to do something Pat White never did and something only Mountaineer legend Major Harris accomplished once.
Through 11 games this season Skyler has rushed for a net of 492 yards and passed for an additional 2,332. While on the surface these do not look to be exceptional statistics, but when you dig a little deeper you find out they are impressive if you frame them under a different light.
First and foremost, despite having a lengthy list of exceptional quarterbacks under his tutelage, Dana Holgorsen has never had a QB rush for over 500 yards in a season, let alone rush for 500 and pass for over 2,000.
Going back to 1980, there is only one other quarterback in Mountaineer history that has rushed for over 500 yards while passing for over 2,000 yards in one season: Major Harris.
In 1989 Harris led the Mountaineers to an 8-3-1 record and a #21 ranking in the AP poll. Further, he finished the 1989 season 3rd in Heisman voting behind QB Andre Ware of Houston and RB Anthony Thompson of Indiana.
Harris finished that season 142-245 for 2058 yards, 17 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. Harris added an additional six touchdowns and 936 yards on the ground.
Over the years the Mountaineers have had many quarterbacks that have been able to do one or the other, throw or pass. Pat White is in this conversation because he is one of the best collegiate dual-threat quarterbacks in NCAA history. However, White never surpassed 2,000 passing yards in a season as a Mountaineer. He came closest in 2008 when he rushed for 974 yards and passed for 1,842.
In 2009, Jarrett Brown came close to matching Harris and Howard passing for 2144 yards but fell short of 500 rushing yards with 466. Likewise, Rasheed Marshall rushed for over 500 yards twice in his career at WVU, 666 in 2002 and 684 in 2004, but never surpassed 2,000 passing yards.
While Howard will not put up the total rushing yards that Harris did in 1989, Howard has already surpassed Harris in passing yards. Moreover Howard he currently has three more passing touchdowns than Harris did and has equaled his rushing touchdown total with six.
Yes the game has changed and it may not exactly be fair to compare the two. But the fact remains, there are only two quarterbacks to reach 500/2,000 in one season since 1980. One is a former Heisman candidate and the other is Skyler Howard.