Northwestern Wildcats, Nebraska Cornhuskers to open 2022 season in Ireland

Northwestern and Nebraska will open the 2022 season in Dublin, Ireland, the schools announced Wednesday.

The Wildcats will serve as the home team in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, set to be played Aug. 27, 2022, at Aviva Stadium. Nebraska had been scheduled to open the 2021 season against Illinois in Dublin, but the Fighting Illini home game instead was moved to Champaign, Illinois, because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

"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," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a prepared statement. "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 game will mark Northwestern's first outside the United States, and the first in a series of five contests included in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Northwestern and Nebraska will travel to Ireland several days before the Week Zero game to practice and participate in several cultural events.

"The past year has been a very difficult one for us all in Ireland and in the United States," prime minister Micheál Martin said in a release. "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."