Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 8, the number once worn by WVU quarterback, Chad Johnston.
Originally from Peterstown, WV, Johnston was a four-year member of the WVU football program, from 1993 to 1996. During his Mountaineer career, Johnston made 40 career appearances (33 starts) for the Mountaineers where he recorded 428 career completions for 5,954 passing yards, and 43 passing touchdowns.
Chad Johnston is in the top six in several all-time passing statistical categories in the school record books including career passing yards (4th), passing touchdowns (5th), and completions (6th). He also helped lead the Mountaineers to three bowl games including the 1994 Sugar Bowl, and a Big East Conference championship following the team’s second undefeated regular season in five years.
As a freshman, Johnston served as the team’s primary back-up to the incumbent starter, Jake Kelchner. Johnston appeared in just four games during the historic 1993 campaign, completing ten passes for 114 yards, and two touchdowns. The Mountaineers went on to finish the season 11-1 overall after a brutal 41-7 loss at the hands of the SEC champion Florida Gators in the 1994 Sugar Bowl. However, the team did win its very first league title in just its third season in the upstart Big East conference, and earned a top ten ranking in both of the final polls for the first time since the 1988 season.
Johnston’s sophomore season saw the 6’3”, 210 pound signal caller appear in all 13 of the Mountaineer’s games during the 1994 campaign. That season, Johnston recorded 124 completions for 1,863 yards, and 16 touchdowns.
Johnston’s most memorable game of not only the 1994 season, but also of his career was in that year’s wild edition of the “Backyard Brawl”. That afternoon, Johnston threw for a career-best 396 yards and four touchdowns on 16 completions in the Mountaineers’ last second 47-41 victory at Pitt. As the Mountaineers trailed by a single point at old Pitt Stadium, Johnston managed to hook up with senior wide receiver Zach Abraham on a 55 yard bomb to pull ahead of their bitter rivals with just 15 seconds left in the contest.
West Virginia managed the finish the 1994 season with a record of 7-6 following a New Year’s Day loss to South Carolina in the 1995 Carquest Bowl.
The following year, Johnston and the Mountaineers struggled through a disappointing 5-6 season. That year, Johnston threw for 2,019 yards, and 13 touchdowns, but was picked off 13 times over the course of the 11 game season. The team did give itself momentum for the 1996 season after they shut out Pitt in the regular season finale, and played a close game in the Orange Bowl against #25 Miami a week prior.
Johnston played his final season for the Mountaineers in 1996. The team got off to a hot start with a record of 7-0, but finished the season losing four of their final five games. Johnston completed 167 passes for 1,958 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He finished his career as the all-time leader in career passing yards, and passing touchdowns, while finishing his career second in completions. The Mountaineers earned a bid to the 1997 Gator Bowl where they fell to #12 North Carolina 20-13 to finish the year 8-4 overall.
Chad Johnston graduated from West Virginia University in the spring of 1997 where he earned a bachelor’s degree. Following his graduation from the school, Johnston went on to further his education in order to successfully pursue a career in dermatology. He now owns and operates his own dermatology office in Blacksburg, VA (River Ridge Dermatology); he has been in business since the fall of 2011.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-9 are still available here at WVUPros.com