Michigan Football: 5 most memorable Wolverine Bowl Games

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The Michigan football team meets the Florida Gators Friday, Jan. 1, in the 2016 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. The Wolverines were victorious over the Gators in both previous meetings, also in bowl matchups.

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Later this week the Michigan football team will play in its 44th bowl game. The Wolverines won the first ever bowl, 49-0, over Stanford as part of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses on New Year’s Day, 1902.

Michigan’s latest bowl matchup was a discouraging 31-14 loss to Kansas State in the Tempe, AZ, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28. 2013.

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This time, the No. 14 Wolverines (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) face the No. 19 Florida Gators (10-3, 8-2 SEC) at the (Buffalo Wild Wings) Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL on New Year’s Day (1 pm).

Both the Citrus Bowl and the Florida Gators have been good to the Wolverines.

Michigan has played in the Citrus four times, finishing on top in three of them. The Wolverines also hold a 2-0 mark over the Gators, last defeating them in the 2008 Citrus, 41-35. It was a nice going-away present for Lloyd Carr, who previously announced the game would be his last as Michigan’s head coach.

The Wolverines also defeated Florida 38-30 in the 2003 Outback Bowl.

The Wolverines enter the contest as four-point favorites, but the Wolverines bowl history has been anything but stellar.

Michigan has accumulated a 20-23 bowl record, but two of Michigan’s top coaches fared worse.

Bo Schembechler, who was 194-48-5 at Michigan was only 5-12 in bowl action.  Carr’s record was similar, going 112-40 for the Wolverines during the regular season, but struggled in later bowl games, losing four straight before defeating Florida in 2008.

Regardless, there were several exciting recent matchups, win or lose.

Both teams enter this week’s affair with a first-year head coach.

Jim Harbaugh left the NFL San Francisco 49ers a year ago to coach Michigan, where he was the starting QB from 1983-86.

Jim McElwain joined the Gators this season after a three-year head coaching stint at Colorado State. He was also a college quarterback, playing at Eastern Washington from 1980 to 1983.

The 23-20 overtime win over Virginia Tech in the 2012 Sugar Bowl gave Michigan fans (premature) belief in then-new coach Brady Hoke.

Past wins over Arkansas (1999), Alabama (2000) and Auburn (2001) proved Michigan could compete with the SEC, while losses to Texas (2005) and South Carolina (2013) went down to the final thrilling moments.

Let’s look back at five of Michigan’s more memorable bowl games:

Next: 1st Rose Bowl Game