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Former WVU HC Rich Rodriguez, Jacksonville State Learn Bowl Fate



Rich Rodriguez Jacksonville State
Image credit to Jacksonville State Athletics

As the Mountaineers wait for their bowl fate, a former WVU coach learns his. Rich Rodriguez will lead Jacksonville State in the New Orleans Bowl. Brett McMurphy of the Action Network was first to report the news.

Jacksonville State will play Louisiana and the game will kickoff on Dec. 16 at 2:15 pm on ESPN. This will mark the first ever bowl game in JSU history and the first time Rodriguez will coach in a bowl game since 2017.

Despite an 8-4 record, it took a loophole in a rule to grant Jacksonville State access to a bowl game. Due to a lack of the necessary amount of teams reaching bowl eligibility, Jacksonville State (along with JMU) became able to end their seasons in a bowl game. This came after both schools were denied a waiver request for immediate eligibility.

The rules normally do not allow programs to be bowl eligible in their first season as members of the FBS.

Loophole in Rule Will Send Rich Rodriguez to Bowl Game After All

The last time Rodriguez coached in a bowl game was in 2017 with Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl. His last bowl victory came back in 2015 in the New Mexico Bowl.

When Rodriguez was hired to guide Jacksonville State into this new FBS era in 2021, it was his first time being a head coach since his departure from Arizona in 2017. After the Wildcats, Rodriguez spent a season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ole Miss and then held the same role at Louisiana-Monroe the following season.

Rodriguez, a West Virginia native, currently holds a 180-124-2 overall coaching record. He obviously experience most of his success while leading the Mountaineers from 2001-2007. At WVU, Rodriguez won four Big East titles, was named conference Coach of the Year twice. He added a third Coach of the Year honor in the Pac-12 in 2014 with Arizona.

Last November, WVSN’s Mike Asti asked WVU legend Rasheed Marshall if he would ever want Rich Rodriguez to return as head coach of the Mountaineers during an episode of their past “All Three Phases” podcast.

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