Brett Pyne | Posted: 12 Jul 2022 | Updated: 21 Jul 2022

BYU announces future football games with Sam Houston and Southern Utah

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BYU announces future football games with SHSU and SUU

PROVO, Utah — Brigham Young University and Sam Houston State University today announced the two schools have agreed to play a football game on Sept. 2, 2023 in Provo, Utah. BYU and Southern Utah University also announced the Cougars will host the Thunderbirds on Sept. 6, 2025.

Sam Houston and BYU will meet for the first time when the Bearkats travel from Huntsville, Texas, to Provo for the 2023 season opener on Saturday, Sept. 2 in LaVell Edwards Stadium.  

In addition to the 2025 game with SUU, BYU's 2023 game against the Thunderbirds originally scheduled for Nov. 18 in Provo will now be played on Saturday, Sept. 9 before the Cougars face the Arkansas Razorbacks of the Southeastern Conference in a road nonconference matchup on Saturday, Sept. 16.

A national champion at the FCS level, Sam Houston has been playing football since 1912 and will face the Cougars as a member of Conference USA in the Bearkats’ move to the FBS level. A member of the Southland Conference from 1986 through spring 2021, Sam Houston won the FCS national championship in 2020, defeating FCS powerhouses North Dakota State, James Madison and South Dakota State en route to the title. The Kats joined the relaunched Western Athletic Conference at the FCS level for the 2021 fall season, going 5-0 in league and 11-1 overall before falling in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. 

Sam Houston has won 15 conference titles and reached the postseason 13 times, including appearing in back-to-back national title games in 2011 and 2012. The Kats also won an NAIA championship in 1964. Sam Houston has had 20 players selected in the NFL Draft, including cornerback Zyon McCollum going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of this year’s draft. 

BYU and in-state foe SUU have previously played just once in football, with the Cougars earning a 37-7 victory in Provo on Nov. 12, 2016. A member of the Western Athletic Conference, Southern Utah has played football since 1963 and has achieved four conference titles, including two titles won under current BYU assistant head coach Ed Lamb, who was a two-time Eddie Robinson Award finalist for national coach of the year while serving as the head coach of the Thunderbird program from 2008-15. Located in Cedar City, Utah, SUU has had four players selected in the NFL Draft in the last 10 years, including offensive tackle Braxton Jones going to the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of this year’s draft. 

Founded in 1875, BYU officially began playing college football in 1922 and has been one of the most successful programs in the country over the last half century. Only seven FBS programs have achieved more wins than BYU’s 430 victories over the past 50 seasons. BYU has competed as an FBS independent program since 2011 and will join the Big 12 Conference in 2023. Prior to independence, BYU won 23 conference titles as a member of the Mountain West and WAC. Last year, Kalani Sitake’s Cougars finished 10-3 and ranked No. 19 in the nation to achieve back-to-back top-20 seasons coming off a No. 11 ranking and 11-1 record in 2020.