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BYU football announces future games against Central Florida, Rice

The BYU football team defeats UCF 24-17 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2011 in Provo, Utah. Mark A. Philbrick, BYU

PROVO — A day after announcing it will take a two-year break from playing the rivalry football game against the University of Utah, BYU announced Tuesday that it has agreed to future series with the University of Central Florida and Rice University.

Central Florida is a member of the American Athletic Conference and Rice belongs to Conference USA.

BYU and UCF will tangle at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida, on Nov. 11, 2023. The Knights will return the game in Provo at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Aug. 31, 2024.

BYU and Rice will meet on Sept. 29, 2023, in Provo and on Sept. 27, 2025, at Rice Stadium in Houston, a historic stadium that hosted Super Bowl VIII in 1974.

BYU has played both schools before.

The Cougars downed UCF 24-17 at LES in 2011 and the Knights won the rematch 31-24 in overtime in 2014 on their home field in Orlando. Central Florida has emerged recently as one of the best Group of Five programs in the country. The Knights went undefeated in 2017 and have won two major bowls recently, the 2014 Fiesta Bowl and the 2018 Peach Bowl.

BYU and Rice met twice when both were members of the 16-team Western Athletic Conference. The Cougars walloped the Owls 49-0 in Provo in 1996, the year they went 14-1, won the Cotton Bowl and finished with a No. 5 national ranking. Rice won 27-14 in Houston the following year.

Current BYU running backs coach AJ Steward and fifth-year graduate transfer running back Emmanuel Esukpa were both at Rice before moving on to BYU.

Kickoff times and broadcast plans were not announced Tuesday.

BYU will open the 2023 season by hosting Tennessee on Sept. 2 and playing at Virginia on Sept. 9. The Cougars have a vacant date on Sept. 16 that year where Utah was originally slotted.

In addition to hosting Rice on Sept. 29, BYU also has home games in 2023 against Boise State (Oct. 21), UNLV (Nov. 4) and Southern Utah (Nov. 18).

In addition to playing at UCF, the Cougars are also scheduled to travel to Arkansas on Sept. 23, Houston on Oct. 7 and USC on Nov. 25.

In 2024, BYU is scheduled to host Hawaii (Sept. 14) and Georgia Southern (Oct. 12) in addition to UCF in the opener. The Cougars will travel to Wyoming (Sept. 28), East Carolina (Oct. 19), UNLV (Nov. 2) and North Carolina State (Nov. 9).

BYU now has three road games on its 2025 schedule: Hawaii (Sept. 6), Rice (Sept. 27) and Boise State (Oct. 25).

Two weeks ago, BYU announced a long extension of its series with Boise State and the 2023 game against SUU, and on Monday the program made a joint announcement with Utah that previously scheduled matchups will not be played in 2022 and 2023 but also that the game will be played each year from 2025 to 2028.

Previously announced rivalry games in 2020, 2021 and 2024 remain on the schedule.