- National Championships: None
- Conference Titles: 15 (1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1993, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011)
- Divisional Championships: None
- Bowl Game Appearances: 39
West Virginia Mountaineers Stats & Analysis
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Team Ranked Stats
All-Time West Virginia Mountaineers Stats & Records
- Geno Smith: 11,662
- Marc Bulger: 8,153
- Will Grier: 7,354
- Skyler Howard: 7,302
- Jarret Doege: 6,453
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West Virginia Mountaineers - NCAAF History
Starting Point: West Virginia Origins
The West Virginia Mountaineers are a Division I FBS football team based in Morgantown, West Virginia. Initially founded in 1891, West Virginia has an overall record of 769–514–45. Its first game took place on a field that was converted from a cow pasture, where they lost 72-0 to Washington & Jefferson University. The turn of the 20th Century brought about moderate success for the West Virginia stats program, namely during the 1903 and 1905 seasons; it was at this time that WVU posted records of 7–1 and 8–1, respectively. The Mountaineers enjoyed their first period of success during the 1920s, with Clarence Spears as their head coach, West Virginia compiled a 30–6–3 record with its best performance coming in the 1922 season, posting their only undefeated season in program history with 10 wins and one tie.
More Wins Than Losses: 4 Decades on Top
The Mountaineers continued their success under Spears, posting subsequent one-loss seasons in 1923 and 1924, going 7–1–1 and 8–1, respectively; Spears, nonetheless, departed the program to coach at the University of Minnesota thereafter. Ira Errett Rodgers replaced Spears, and the Mountaineers continued their winning ways with a third consecutive one-loss season at 8-1. Outside of another eight-win season in 1937, West Virginia faced some adversity during most of the next two decades. During the 1950s, the Mountaineers enjoyed winning football once again, this time under the direction of Art “Pappy” Lewis. West Virginia posted a winning season in 1952 at 7-2, their first in four years, and the following season they started a string of three consecutive eight-win seasons and five straight Southern Conference championships in six years. Even though the 1953 team ranked tenth overall in the AP Polls and earned a berth in the Sugar Bowl (losing to Georgia Tech in a 42-19 blowout,) the 1954 squad was snubbed from a bowl game appearance despite yet another eight-win season. Lewis resigned after the 1959 season and the Mountaineers wouldn’t win another conference title until the back-to-back stretch in 1964 and 1965, with the latter squad making it to the Liberty Bowl as they dropped a 32-6 decision to Utah in that contest.
Powerhouse in the Making
The winning continued into the 1970s, with the end of the last decade seeing West Virginia go 10-1 and pick up a victory in the Peach Bowl over South Carolina, and then the Mountaineers hired future College Football Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Bowden to coach the program. Bowden would lead the Mountaineers to a 42-28 record over six seasons with a pair of Peach Bowl victories in 1972 and 1975, with both wins coming against North Carolina State University. Bowden’s departure in 1976 signaled some down years for the program and it wouldn’t be until 1981 when West Virginia would post another winning season, going 9-2 and winning another Peach Bowl, this time against the University of Florida. The next season, an 8-2 Mountaineers program would face their old coach Bowden -now leading Florida State University- in the Gator Bowl, where the Seminoles picked up a 31-12 victory.
West Virginia’s success would carry them into the next several decades. The program achieved critical acclaim in 1988 by taking an undefeated regular season record of 11-0 into their Fiesta Bowl showdown with perennial power Notre Dame, also unbeaten and with the same record. The Fighting Irish won that game 34-21, giving them a clear No. 1 ranking in every poll and declaring them as National Champions. In 1991, West Virginia left the Southern Conference for the Big East Conference, where it spent two decades as one of the powerhouse programs. Another undefeated regular season in 1993 ended with a bowl game loss in the Sugar Bowl versus Florida, preventing the Mountaineers from another shot at a national title.
A Bowl Appearance Every Season
The turn of the 21st Century saw West Virginia pick up four Big East Conference Championships, with three coming consecutively between 2003 and 2005. From 2000 on, the Mountaineers have made an appearance in a bowl game in every season except 2001, 2013 and 2019. Their overall bowl game record in 39 appearances is 16 wins and 23 losses.
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