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Report: Sun Belt Conference’s Texas State eyeing a payday football game at BYU

Cougars and Bobcats could possibly play first weekend of October, because both programs have openings then after other scheduled games fell through due to COVID-19 pandemic

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FILE: Texas State’s Tyler Vitt (11) tries to escape Texas A&M’s Tyree Johnson (3) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in College Station, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019.

Chuck Burton, Associated Press

PROVO — It appears BYU is close to adding a sixth game to its reconstructed 2020 football schedule.

Keff Ciardello, who covers Texas State University football for the Austin American-Statesman, tweeted Wednesday afternoon that a matchup between the Bobcats and BYU is a “done deal” and will likely be played in early October at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

“Should be a pay game for the Bobcats,” Ciardello wrote, referencing an agreement that occurs when a bigger program pays for an opponent to make a one-time visit without the promise of a return game.

The Deseret News was unable to confirm the agreement through BYU sources late Wednesday night.

Earlier Wednesday, BYU and Army jointly announced a home-and-home series, with the first game to be played Sept. 19 in West Point, New York, and the second game to be played in 2032 in Provo, as was reported by the Deseret News Monday night.

Texas State plays in the Sun Belt Conference and has never played BYU. It joined the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2012 and the SBC in 2013.

Ciardello speculated that a BYU-Texas State matchup could occur on Oct. 3; More likely, if that weekend is the choice, the game would be played Friday, Oct. 2 because BYU likes to keep the entire weekend free for General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

BYU was originally scheduled to host Utah State on Oct. 2, before the Mountain West Conference postponed its entire season to the spring.

BYU’s most noteworthy connection to Texas State is Cougars offensive line coach Eric Mateos, who spent two seasons in San Marcos, Texas, with the Bobcats before replacing Ryan Pugh at BYU.

“They just have that slogan, ‘it just means more.’ It means a lot down there to those people, to those economies in the South, those communities. Far as I know, we are playing, and everybody is under the impression that we are going and it was a little iffy for a few days, but I think when some of the commissioners and some of the other presidents around the South said ‘no, forget it, we are going,’ I think everybody’s vibe has changed a little bit.” — BYU OL coach Eric Mateos

Mateos told the Deseret News on Monday that he’s not surprised teams in the Southeastern and Sun Belt conferences are still planning to play football this fall.

“They just have that slogan, ‘it just means more.’ It means a lot down there to those people, to those economies in the South, those communities,” Mateos said. “Far as I know, we are playing, and everybody is under the impression that we are going and it was a little iffy for a few days, but I think when some of the commissioners and some of the other presidents around the South said ‘no, forget it, we are going,’ I think everybody’s vibe has changed a little bit.”