Football: Northwestern to face Nebraska in Dublin for 2022 season opener


Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

Northwestern walks out of the tunnel onto Ryan Field. The Wildcats are facing Nebraska in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Dublin, Ireland to open the 2022 season.

Drew Schott, Sports Editor


Northwestern is headed across the Atlantic Ocean to kick off the 2022 season.

The Wildcats will face Nebraska at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on Aug. 27, 2022 in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. It will mark the first time in program history that NU competes in a college football game outside of the United States.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our entire University community, from student-athletes to coaches, alumni and fans,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a news release. “We are thrilled that our program will get to experience the beautiful Irish culture, while we continue to help grow the game of college football on a global stage.”

The Cats will be the home team against the Cornhuskers, who were set to play Illinois in Dublin for the 2021 season opener, but the game was moved to Champaign, Ill. due to the pandemic.

Dublin last hosted a college football contest in September 2016, a matchup between Georgia Tech and Boston College. The game between NU and Nebraska will be the start of an annual five-game series known as the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Teams will compete for the Keough-Naughton Trophy, named for Irish businessmen Donald Keough and Martin Naughton.

“With our vaccination rollout advancing at pace, we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and we can begin to look forward with optimism to welcoming visitors safely back to our shores,” Irish prime minister Micheál Martin said in the release. “When we do, we will have a very special welcome ready for the teams and their supporters when they visit us for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.”

Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, NU has played the Cornhuskers 10 times, winning five and losing five. The Cats defeated Nebraska 21-13 during the 2020 season and will head to Lincoln on Oct. 2, 2021 before facing their Big Ten West rival in Ireland the following year.

Competing during Week Zero of the 2022 college football season, each team will arrive in Ireland a few days before the game to acclimate to a six-hour time difference and take part in cultural experiences.

The home of Ireland’s rugby and soccer national teams, Aviva Stadium has a capacity of 48,000 for American football — a similar capacity to Ryan Field’s 47,130. Fans can pay a $250 deposit for a travel package to secure tickets, which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We can’t wait to have the Northwestern faithful join us in one of the world’s most amazing settings,” Fitzgerald said in the release.

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