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PROVO — Five months ago, when the world was locked down at the hands of a global pandemic and BYU fans were the loudest voice in a sea of Twitter polls and bracket challenges, Western Kentucky athletic director Todd Stewart pressed “compose tweet” on his account following the conclusion of a heated (and controversial) national mascot championship series between Cosmo and the Hilltoppers’ Big Red.
“We would love to do a football and/or basketball series. The schools have never played in football and WKU basketball leads the all-time hoops series 3-0 but we haven’t played since 1954,” Stewart wrote. “Let’s make it happen, Tom Holmoe!”
In the documentary series about the scheduling of the first football game between the two schools in program history, this is the part where the narrator's voiceover says, “They made it happen.”
BYU and Western Kentucky will meet Oct. 31 in Provo, according to a report Friday morning by Stadium’s Brett McMurphy. BYU confirmed the report Friday afternoon.
“We are grateful that Western Kentucky was able to quickly put together a game that will enable our teams to play football,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a news release. “We are looking forward to the matchup and hosting the Hilltoppers at LaVell Edwards Stadium.”
We would love to do a football and/or basketball series. The schools have never played in football and @WKUBasketball leads the all-time hoops series 3-0 but we haven’t played since 1954. Let’s make this happen @TomHolmoe! https://t.co/cctKUR20c4— Todd Stewart (@ToddStewartWKU) April 17, 2020
The meeting between the Cougars and Hilltoppers is, indeed, the first between the two schools on the gridiron. It would also be the second game this season against a Conference USA team — the other being UTSA, which was reported Thursday in conjunction with another home game against Texas State from the Sun Belt.
BYU has not confirmed home dates with the two Texas schools.
Western Kentucky’s most recent football scheduling change came Aug. 4, when the Hilltoppers postponed their Sept. 3 game against UT Chattanooga to a future date.
That leaves WKU with two nonconference dates, a road game at Louisville, and a home game against Liberty. Conference USA has allowed its teams to schedule up to four nonconference games, and the Hilltoppers kept the week of Halloween as a bye week in the middle of its league schedule.
BYU also had a bye week that same week but had pair of games Oct. 24 at Northern Illinois and Nov. 6 at Boise State canceled because of decisions by the Mid-American and Mountain West conferences to suspend the 2020 fall football season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hilltoppers would be the eighth game on the Cougars’ schedule, including six home games, after having as few as three scheduled following a slew of cancellations.