In 2019, then-Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis made the second start of his collegiate career at BYU, throwing three interceptions in a 30-27 overtime loss.
On Saturday night, Slovis will play a game in Provo, Utah, for the first time since that contest. Only this time, he will be wearing the BYU jersey as the starting QB in its season opener and debut game as a Big 12 Conference school when it battles Sam Houston.
"It's been great being part of the offense, the culture and the family, but I came here to play games and that's all coming to fruition," Slovis said. "If I execute the offense, do what I am supposed to do and what I am capable of doing, everything else will take care of itself."
Slovis enters his initial game as a Cougar needing just 27 passing yards to reach 10,000 for his career. After throwing for 7,576 yards in three years at USC, he played last year at Pittsburgh, throwing for 2,397 yards with 10 touchdowns, giving him 68 TDs for his career.
BYU, which finished 8-5 last year with a season-ending, four-game winning streak, was picked to finish 11th in the 14-team Big 12.
Meanwhile, Sam Houston is debuting as an FBS program with this game. The Bearkats, who won the spring 2021 FCS title, went 5-4 last year in their final FCS season. They redshirted a half-dozen starters last season after four games to field a stronger team this year, including linebacker Trevor Williams and pass rusher Markel Perry.
"Knowing the schedule we have coming up creates some excitement and motivation," Williams said. "Having that period of time allowed me to grow and be a better person. I think it's given me the ability to prepare and be excited."
Sam Houston joined Florida International in being tabbed to share last place in Conference USA. Coach K.C. Keeler is 259-100-1 overall in 29 seasons, including an 86-26 mark with the Bearkats.
This will be the first meeting of Sam Houston and BYU.
—Field Level Media