PROVO — BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe continues to doggedly pursue replacement games for the Cougars’ depleted 2020 football schedule, adding the Troy Trojans of the Sun Belt Conference on Thursday to offer more evidence that independent BYU fully intends to play on the gridiron this fall. 

Troy, which is based in south-central Alabama, will visit LaVell Edwards Stadium on Sept. 26, which right now would be the Cougars’ home opener. The game will be televised by an ESPN network; Kickoff time has yet to be announced.

The Cougars will return the game on Sept. 5, 2026, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Alabama.

“This is a GREAT series between two very good football programs!,” tweeted Troy athletic director Brent Jones. “I very much appreciate (Holmoe) working with me to get this deal done.”

BYU now has four opponents on its reconstructed schedule: Navy (Sept. 7), Troy (Sept. 26), Houston (Oct. 26) and North Alabama (Nov. 21). Many expect the North Alabama game to be moved to September because the Big South Conference canceled its regular season but is allowing its teams to play up to four nonconference games.

BYU and Troy have never met in football, but there is one notable tie. Former BYU offensive line coach Ryan Pugh is Troy’s offensive coordinator.

“Troy has been one of the top football programs in the Sun Belt Conference for many years,” Holmoe said in a statement. “Despite the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 college football season, we worked out a contract with Troy over the past three weeks and look forward to facing the Trojans.”

While the Sun Belt is still having a season, Troy lost nonconference games against Tennessee, NC State, UMass and Arkansas-Pine Bluff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Troy has been one of the top football programs in the Sun Belt Conference for many years. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 college football season, we worked out a contract with Troy over the past three weeks and look forward to facing the Trojans.” — BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe

Troy is celebrating its 100th season of college football, and has won 21 conference championships, including six Sun Belt titles in the past 14 seasons. The Trojans have won their last four bowl games, most recently a 42-32 win over Buffalo in the 2018 Dollar General Bowl.

Also Thursday morning, BYU lost another potential replacement opponent because fellow independent New Mexico State announced it would postpone its season until spring.

The Cougars are now not only the only college football program still playing in the state of Utah, but the only program west of Texas that hasn’t postponed until spring.

Passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick said Wednesday after the Cougars’ eighth practice of fall camp that the entire team and coaching staff is “on board” with having a season.

No time to be picky as BYU scrambles to fill out football schedule

“Everyone in this building has great respect for the virus and we are all operating under the guidelines that we have been given,” Roderick said. “Everyone is trying their best to follow the rules around here. Everyone is masked up everywhere, basically — on the field, off the field, we are doing the best we can to follow the guidelines we have been given. At the same time we feel really fortunate that we get to be out there practicing.”

Roderick said those practices are “lively and enjoyable” and said this is the best fall camp he’s been involved in in 25 years of coaching.

“And so we are just taking it one day at a time, enjoying the moment,” he said. “We are not even really thinking about what is ahead, just enjoying each practice and trying to become a better team for whenever we do play.”

As of Thursday, that means playing at Navy on Labor Day night.

“Every one of these guys on this team has friends in other programs who have either had their season canceled, or their season is still in question and they haven’t been able to practice yet. So, every rep of every practice is precious and we are making the most of it,” Roderick said.