The Wildcats’ 2022 campaign kicks off in Ireland for the Aer Lingus Classic. Kick-off is slated for 11:30 am CT and will be televised nationally on FOX.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW:
- Saturday’s opener will mark the 200th career game coached by Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach, Pat Fitzgerald. Already Northwestern’s career leader in both games coached and games won (109), Fitzgerald will become just the eighth coach in Big Ten history to coach 200 games for a Big Ten school, joining Kirk Ferentz (288; 2nd all-time) as the only two active coaches.
- For the fourth time in the last five seasons, Northwestern will open its season with a matchup against a fellow Big Ten opponent. The Wildcats and the Cornhuskers’ meeting in Dublin marks one of three Big Ten matchups to open the 2022 season (also Penn State @ Purdue and Illinois @ Indiana, both happening next week). Over the last five seasons, Northwestern’s four season openers against conference opponents mark the most of any Big Ten school. Northwestern is 12-4 in season openers under Pat Fitzgerald.
- This will mark Northwestern’s first-game played outside of the United States in program history. Dublin’s Aviva Stadium is home to the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Football Association of Ireland. Aviva also hosted the 2012 Emerald Isle Classic between Notre Dame and Navy, as well as the most recent Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Boston College and Georgia Tech in 2016. The winner of the Aer Lingus Classic will receive the the Keough-Naughton Trophy that bears the names of two powerhouses of Irish America, Don Keough and Martin Naughton.
COURTESY NORTHWESTERN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS