LINCOLN — Although a year later than originally scheduled, Nebraska Football is headed across the Atlantic Ocean for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Ireland. Nebraska will take on Northwestern on Aug. 27, 2022 at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
Nebraska was originally scheduled to travel to Ireland to open the 2021 season against Illinois, but due to logistical challenges surrounding COVID-19 that game was moved to Champaign.
“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.”
Nebraska was originally scheduled to play at Northwestern on Oct. 8, 2022. The Week Zero matchup at Aviva Stadium will mark the second consecutive year Nebraska will play in Week Zero, with this year’s season opener at Illinois scheduled for Aug. 28. The matchup in Dublin will also be Nebraska’s first game outside of the United States since the Huskers took on Kansas State in the 1992 Coca-Cola Bowl in Tokyo, Japan.
“The trip to Ireland provides great exposure for the Nebraska football program and a unique experience for our players and Husker fans,” Nebraska Head Coach Scott Frost said. “Our primary focus for the trip will be to play a football game against an outstanding opponent in Northwestern. At the same time, this will be great cultural opportunity for our young men to visit a part of the world that most of them have not seen.”
Following the matchup with Northwestern in Ireland, Nebraska will return to Lincoln for three consecutive non-conference games, taking on North Dakota (Sept. 3), Georgia Southern (Sept. 10) and Oklahoma (Sept. 17).
Nebraska and Northwestern will compete for the Keough-Naughton trophy that bears the names of two powerhouses of Irish America, Don Keough and Martin Naughton.
“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.”
The teams are expected to travel to Ireland a few days prior to the season opener to acclimate and prepare for the contest, while also enjoying Irish cultural experiences.
“The announcement of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic for August 2022 is really good news,” said Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Executive Vice President – North America & Australia. “As we get ready to restart international tourism to the island of Ireland, the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Nebraska Huskers will deliver a very welcome boost for tourism from the United States, with about 23,000 people expected to travel here from the US and Europe. Our message to the teams and their fans is that we cannot wait to roll out the ‘green carpet’ and welcome them to Dublin and Ireland. I am confident that the Aer Lingus Classic will be a truly wonderful opportunity to showcase Ireland and, more generally, the many attractions we offer as a holiday destination.”
David Shepherd, Chief Commercial Officer, Aer Lingus, said: “Today’s announcement is a welcome beacon of hope for travel on both sides of the Atlantic. As proud sponsor of the Aer Lingus College Football Series, we look forward to flying the Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Huskers and their respective delegations to Ireland next summer, and to promoting our airline to our valued US market.“