Northwestern football will open the 2022 season overseas when the Wildcats meet the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Dublin, Ireland, on Aug. 27, 2022. The Big Ten West contest will take place at Aviva Stadium in Week Zero of the college football season.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our entire University community, from student-athletes to coaches, alumni and fans,” said Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach Pat Fitzgerald ’97. “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. It’s an honor to be included in this once-in-a-lifetime event, and we can’t wait to have the Northwestern faithful join us in one of the world’s most amazing settings.”
Both teams will compete for the Keough-Naughton trophy that bears the names of two powerhouses of Irish America, Don Keough and Martin Naughton. The Wildcats are the designated home team in the matchup at Aviva Stadium, home to both the Irish rugby and soccer national teams.
“The past year has been a very difficult one for us all in Ireland and in the United States. 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,” commented Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Micheál Martin. “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.” Learn more in Martin’s welcome message.
The teams will travel to Dublin a few days before the game to practice and acclimate to the different time zone, as well as enjoy various cultural experiences. The game is the first in a five-game series to be held annually as the Aer Lingus College Football Classic and will be the first Northwestern football game ever played outside the United States.
The Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be held at the magnificent Aviva Stadium, which also hosted the 2012 Emerald Isle Classic between the University of Notre Dame and the US Naval Academy, and the 2016 Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Boston College and Georgia Tech.
Located in Dublin, Aviva Stadium has a seating capacity of 51,700 and 48,000 for American football. It is built on the site of the former Lansdowne Road stadium, which was demolished in 2007, and where Boston College played in 1988. It is home to the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Republic of Ireland national football team.