BYU football announces 2023 schedule, features home game vs. Oklahoma | News, Sports, Jobs
Marci Harris, Special to the Herald
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake prepares to take the field before the 2OT win over Baylor at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
In conjunction with the Big 12 Conference release of its 2023 football matchups, BYU announced Tuesday its inaugural football schedule as a member of the Big 12 Conference.
The Cougars’ nine-game 2023 Big 12 schedule will feature four home dates with Cincinnati (Sept. 29), Texas Tech (Oct. 21), Iowa State (Nov. 11) and Oklahoma (Nov. 18), and five road matchups against Kansas (Sept. 23), TCU (Oct. 14), Texas (Oct. 28), West Virginia (Nov. 4) and Oklahoma State (Nov. 25). The four Big 12 members not on BYU’s 2023 regular-season schedule include Baylor, Kansas State, Houston and UCF. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF officially join the Big 12 on July 1.
“We are very excited to get started with a new era of BYU football,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “The 2023 football schedule provides us with some great matchups. We are excited to welcome teams we’ve never had at LaVell Edwards Stadium before and also travel to new venues we’ve never visited. With the challenge of weaving in four new teams into an unprecedented 14-team Big 12 schedule, we’re thankful for how deliberate the conference has been in the development and release of this schedule. We can’t wait for the season to get going and for Cougar Nation to experience Big 12 football here in Provo and throughout the country.”
Prior to beginning conference play, the Cougars will open the 2023 season with three nonconference contests, hosting Sam Houston (Sept. 2) and Southern Utah (Sept. 9) in LaVell Edwards Stadium before traveling for a road contest at Arkansas (Sept. 16) of the Southeastern Conference.
BYU’s 12-game slate in 2023 includes six home games and six road contests. The home schedule features three teams coming to LaVell Edwards Stadium for the first time–Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Sam Houston–while the three other home games–Cincinnati, Iowa State and Southern Utah–feature teams that have each made just one previous trip to Provo to face the Cougars.
The road schedule will be full of challenging games and new venues for Cougar fans. After concluding nonconference play with the Razorbacks of the SEC in BYU’s first football game played in the state of Arkansas, the Cougars will make five Big 12 road trips, including three games in stadiums the Cougars have never visited. While the Cougars have previously faced Kansas, West Virginia and Oklahoma State, BYU’s trips to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas; Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia; and Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma, will be first-ever opportunities. A major stadium renovation to Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth will also give BYU’s visit to TCU a new look, while the Cougars’ return to Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin to face Texas will be their first since 2014.
Overall, the 2023 schedule features eight teams that qualified for a bowl game last season and two programs that finished the year in the final regular-season College Football Playoff rankings, including national runner-up TCU. BYU’s 11 FBS opponents achieved a 78-61 record last year, with the eight bowl-qualifying teams earning a .604 winning percentage.
Sam Houston – Sept. 2
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.
The 2020-21 FCS national champions, Sam Houston will be making the move to Conference USA and the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2023 after competing at the Football Championship Subdivision level since 1984. The Bearkats bring a combined 16-5 record over the past two seasons playing in the Western Athletic Conference.
Southern Utah – Sept. 9
The Cougars host FCS foe Southern Utah the following week on Saturday, Sept. 9 in the second contest between the two in-state schools.
BYU defeated the Thunderbirds in the only previous meeting in Provo in 2016, a 37-7 victory during Kalani Sitake’s first season as head coach of the Cougars. An in-state school out of Cedar City, Southern Utah went 5-6 last season, including a 17-7 win over Sam Houston in the regular-season finale.
@Arkansas – Sept. 16
The Cougars travel to face the Arkansas Razorbacks of the Southeastern Conference in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 16 to conclude nonconference play.
BYU hosted the Razorbacks in Provo last season with Arkansas earning a 52-35 win in a high-scoring inaugural matchup. The return game in Fayetteville in 2023 marks BYU’s first football game played in the state of Arkansas in program history. Razorback head coach Sam Pittman will be entering his fourth year leading the Arkansas program, winning back-to-back bowl games the last two years.
Big 12 Conference Schedule
@Kansas – Sept. 23
BYU’s inaugural Big 12 Conference game will be against Kansas on Saturday, Sept. 23 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Cougars and Jayhawks have met only once previously in football when the two schools battled in a Christmas-day matchup for the 1992 Aloha Bowl in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Kansas came away with the upper hand in a closely contested contest, edging BYU 23-20.
Under head coach Lance Leipold, the Jayhawks are coming off the program’s first bowl season since 2008. Kansas battled Arkansas in a 55-53 triple-overtime defeat at the 2022 Liberty Bowl to finish 6-7 overall after going 3-6 in conference play.
Cincinnati – Sept. 29
The first Big 12 home game played at LaVell Edwards Stadium pits league-newcomers BYU and Cincinnati in a featured Friday night matchup on Sept. 29 in Provo.
The Cougars and Bearcats last met in a two-game home-and-home series played in 2015 and 2016 with Cincinnati as a member of the American Athletic Conference and BYU as an independent. The Cougars claimed victories in both games, earning a 38-24 win in Provo in 2015 followed by a 20-3 triumph at Cincinnati in Sitake’s first season in 2016.
The Bearcats are coming off five consecutive bowl games, including three seasons with 11 wins or more and an appearance in 2021’s College Football Playoff. Cincinnati enters 2023 with a new head coach in Scott Satterfield, who brings a 76-48 record (.612) in 10 years at the helm of Louisville and Appalachian State.
@TCU – Oct. 14
After a bye week in the team’s sixth week of the season, BYU returns to Big 12 play facing the national title runner-up TCU at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday, Oct. 14.
The former WAC and MW conference colleagues will meet for the 12th time in the series, with TCU holding a 6-5 edge in the series. The two schools first met in 1987 in Fort Worth and last met in 2011 at Cowboys Stadium (AT&T Stadium), home of the Dallas Cowboys, BYU’s first year as an independent and the Horned Frogs’ last campaign with the MW before joining the Big 12. The Cougars last visited Amon G. Carter Stadium in 2010; however, a major stadium renovation completed since BYU’s last visit will provide a new experience on game day in 2023.
In his first year as the head coach of TCU, Sonny Dykes led the Horned Frogs to last year’s College Football Playoff, defeating Michigan 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl before falling to Georgia in the College Football National Championship. TCU finished the year 13-2 overall and 9-0 in conference games, winning the league championship.
Texas Tech – Oct. 21
One of BYU’s more unfamiliar foes in the new league, the Cougars will welcome the Red Raiders of Texas Tech to LaVell Edwards Stadium for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 21.
The two schools have played only once previously, back in 1940 in Lubbock. The Red Raiders won that game with a narrow 21-20 victory. Texas Tech has been a member of the Big 12 since 1996, last winning the league in 2008 under the late Mike Leach, a BYU alum.
The Red Raiders have been bowling in back-to-back seasons, winning the 2021 Liberty Bowl and 2022 Texas Bowl. Under first-year head coach Joey McGuire, Texas Tech finished 8-5 overall and 5-4 in Big 12 play in 2022, finishing the season with a 42-25 bowl victory over an Ole Miss team that was ranked as high as No. 7 during the year.
@Texas – Oct. 28
BYU will get the opportunity to return to one of the most spirited venues in college football with a capacity of more than 100,000 fans when the Cougars play Texas on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
The Cougars have had success in Austin, winning the last trip there in 2014 by a score of 41-7 behind three touchdowns from quarterback Taysom Hill. BYU has a 4-1 record all-time against the Longhorns, highlighted by the 2014 road win and 2013’s 41-20 win at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars set a program record with 550 rushing yards, including 259 from Hill, now in the NFL with the Saints, and 182 from Jamaal Williams, who led the NFL in touchdowns this season with the Lions.
Steve Sarkisian, former Sammy Baugh Trophy winner and All-American quarterback at BYU in 1996, is entering his third season as the head coach of the Longhorns after going 5-7 and 8-5 the last two years. Texas went 6-3 in conference play last season and finished the season ranked No. 25 in both polls.
@West Virginia – Nov. 4
The month of November kicks off with the longest road trip of the year, a Nov. 4 matchup against West Virginia in Morgantown.
The Cougars are making their first visit to Milan Puskar Stadium but have faced the Mountaineers one other time. During Sitake’s first year as the head coach at BYU, the Cougars played West Virginia in a neutral site game at FedEx Field in Maryland, home of the Washington Commanders. The game came down to the wire before the Mountaineers came out on top in a 35-32 battle.
West Virginia finished 5-7 last year and 3-6 in league play while earning wins over three teams that were ranked in the top 10 during the season in Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers are coached by Neal Brown in his fifth season with the program.
Iowa State – Nov. 11
After two road games, the Cougars return to LaVell Edwards Stadium to face Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 11.
The Cyclones last made a visit to Provo back in 1973 and handed BYU a 26-24 loss in the second season of Hall of Fame BYU head coach LaVell Edwards’ 29-year career. Iowa State also came to Provo in 1968 to earn a victory in the first meeting between the two schools. BYU is 0-4 all-time against Iowa State, including two trips to Ames in 1969 and 1974.
Head Coach Matt Campbell has led the Cyclones to a winning record in five of his seven seasons at the helm, including a 9-3 record in 2020 and a win over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. Iowa State finished 4-8 last season, despite having the Big 12’s stingiest defense, allowing just 20.3 points per game.
Oklahoma – Nov. 18
For senior day in 2023 the Cougars will welcome one of the winningest programs in college football history when the Oklahoma Sooners make their first-ever trip to Provo on Saturday, Nov. 18.
Oklahoma has won 934 games since its first season in 1895, the sixth-most wins in all of college football. The Sooners’ 50 conference championships are the most by any program and, with seven Heisman Trophy winners, Oklahoma is tied with Notre Dame and Ohio State for the most Heisman winners in history.
After dropping a 35-32 game to Florida State in the Cheez-it Bowl last season, the Sooners finished with a losing record at 6-7 for the first time since 1998 and just the fifth time since 1960. Oklahoma is coached by Brent Venables, entering his second season in 2023.
Overall, BYU is 2-0 against the Sooners, with a win in the 1994 Copper Bowl and a thrilling 14-13 victory in the 2009 season opener at Dallas Cowboys Stadium (AT&T Stadium), the first college game played in the NFL venue that annually hosts the Big 12 Championship game. BYU, ranked No. 20 at the time, defeated the No. 3-ranked Sooners featuring Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Sam Bradford.
@Oklahoma State – Nov. 25
BYU concludes its regular season on the road to face Oklahoma State on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Like the Cougars’ matchup with Oklahoma, BYU and Oklahoma State will be playing their first-ever game not at a neutral site. The two schools played in a pair of bowl games in the 1970s, facing off in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl–BYU’s first postseason game–and again in the 1976 Tangerine Bowl–the second bowl game ever played by BYU. The Cowboys were victorious in both matchups, defeating the Cougars 16-6 in the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona, and 49-21 in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando.
Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy is the longest tenured coach in the Big 12, entering his 19th season in 2023 as the head coach of the Cowboys. Gundy has led Oklahoma State to a winning record 18 consecutive years, missing the mark in just his first year in back in 2005. After being ranked in the top 10 during the year, the Cowboys finished 2023 with a 7-6 record and 4-5 conference mark.
Season Tickets & TV
The process for BYU season ticket renewals begins on Feb. 13. Cougar Club, corporate partners and 2022 season ticket holders will receive ticket renewal and seat selection information directly via email, including their scheduled renewal selection dates and times.
Fans who are not already members of the Cougar Club, corporate partners or returning season ticket holders can fill out this season ticket interest form to receive priority ticket purchasing options and important updates.
Television plans and kick times are yet to be determined.
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