Northwestern and Nebraska will meet in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Dublin, Ireland, in Week Zero of the 2022 football season, the schools announced Thursday. The game will be played Aug. 27, 2022 at Aviva Stadium -- a 51,700-seat stadium that is the primary home of the Irish rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland football team.
"This is an incredible opportunity for our entire University community, from student-athletes to coaches, alumni and fans," said Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. "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."
The Keough-Naughton trophy will be presented to the winner of the Big Ten West showdown. The name of the trophy represents Don Keough and Martin Naughton -- two successful Irish-American businessmen. Northwestern will be designated as the home team in the matchup. Nebraska was originally scheduled to play in Ireland to open the 2021 season against Illinois. That game has been canceled due to uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are excited to reschedule the trip to Ireland for our football program," Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said. "The young men in our program have been looking forward to this trip and we are happy to provide them this memorable experience. I know our great Husker fan base will be excited as well and the opportunity to travel to Ireland to see their team compete on an international stage will truly be special. I also want to thank Irish American Events for being a great partner throughout this process the past couple years. We were pleased Northwestern was willing to move a home game to Ireland and look forward to a great season opener in Ireland in 2022."
It will be the third college football game played at Aviva Stadium in the last decade. Notre Dame topped Navy 50-10 to open the 2012 season, and Georgia Tech beat Boston College 17-14 to kick off the 2016 season.