Arizona Football: A Complete Review of Rich Rodriguez' Bowl History
While RichRod prepares for his first bowl game as head coach at Arizona, he will do so knowing all too well the sting of losing such matchups.
The Wildcats coach has compiled a less than stellar 2-4 mark in bowl games prior, including a 2-3 mark at West Virginia and an 0-1 mark in Ann Arbor.
Read on for a complete rundown of Rodriguez' bowl game history.
2002 Continental Tire Bowl: Virginia 48, West Virginia 22
Al Groh's Virginia Cavaliers (8-5) laid down the hammer on West Virginia (9-4) in coach Rich Rodriguez' first-ever bowl game appearance, 48-22.
After ending the first quarter ahead 10-7, everything went south for the Mountaineers.
Virginia rattled off 31 unanswered points to grab a commanding 38-10 lead. They would never look back.
Interestingly, the Mountaineers recorded more first downs, total yards, passing yards and rushing yards.
However, it wasn't enough to keep the score close.
In the year prior—Rodriguez’ first year at the helm—West Virginia won just three games. Despite the blowout, West Virginia finished with an impressive 9-4 mark.
This would mark the first of six consecutive winning seasons in Morgantown for Rodriguez.
2004 Gator Bowl: Maryland 41, West Virginia 7
One year later, RichRod led the Mountaineers to the Gator Bowl only to experience similar results.
Maryland (10-3) trounced West Virginia 41-7. They dominated every statistical category, nearly tripling the Mountaineer's first downs and more than doubling their total yardage.
Afterwards, Rodriguez explained:
"We were focused. Our intensity in practice was good. We were excited about playing. We just didn't play well. Maryland's a better team."
The Mountaineers ended the year with an 8-5 mark.
2005 Gator Bowl: Florida State 30, West Virginia 18
Rodriguez, known for orchestrating high-powered offenses, just couldn't seem to translate that success to bowl games.
After scoring just 22 and seven points respectively in his team's first two bowl appearances, RichRod's club again struggled, putting up just 18 against Florida State in a 30-18 loss on New Years Day, 2005.
The Mountaineers once again finished with eight wins. It wasn't until the next year that Rodriguez elevated the program to new heights.
2006 Sugar Bowl: West Virginia 38, Georgia 35
In 2005, the West Virginia program ascended to new heights. After finishing the regular season 10-1, the Mountaineers squared off with SEC powerhouse Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
Due to Hurricane Katrina, the game was relocated to the Georgia Dome. Those in attendance were treated to a classic.
The No. 11 Mountaineers—in part due to West Virginia's three-game bowl skid, as well as in part due to the Big East's poor reputation—came in as big underdogs against then-No. 7 Georgia.
The determined Mountaineers ended up winning 38-35 in a tale of two halves. In the first half, the two set a BCS record with 62 points scored. In the second half they combined for a mere 11.
This classic matchup was listed sixth in ESPN's best BCS bowl games between 1998-2008. It also marked coach Rodriguez' first bowl win in four tries.
West Virginia would finish the year ranked in the top five.
2007 Gator Bowl: West Virginia 38, Georgia Tech 35
For the third time in four years, the Mountaineers wound up slotted in the Gator Bowl. Unlike in their previous two attempts, West Virginia came to play this time around.
In a highly entertaining affair, RichRod's Mountaineers pulled out a 38-35 win. Both teams compiled four consecutive touchdown drives at certain points in the contest. Quarterback Patrick White rushed for 145 yards on 22 attempts. He added 131 and two touchdowns through the air.
This wound up being RichRod's last bowl game with the Mountaineers. Despite leading West Virginia to the Fiesta Bowl a year later, he accepted Michigan's coaching vacancy prior to the game.
2011 Gator Bowl: Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14
The ugly defeat wound up being Rodriguez' last at Michigan.
In three years in Ann Arbor, he posted a 15-22 record. While the Wolverines' record did improve by the year, patience had already run out.
With the loss, RichRod dropped to 2-4 in bowl games as a head coach.