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Nebraska and Illinois to open 2021 college football season in Ireland

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Georgia Tech players celebrate victory over Boston College in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic Ireland 2016 at Aviva Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

The University of Illinois and University of Nebraska–Lincoln will open their 2021 college football seasons with a one-off Big Ten Conference match in Dublin, Ireland.

The Illinois Fighting Illini and Nebraska Cornhuskers will face each other in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic on August 28, 2021, at Aviva Stadium. Illinois will be the designated home team.

It is the second encounter of the planned five-game Aer Lingus College Football Series, which will start next year when Notre Dame and Navy meet at the Aviva Stadium on August 29, 2020.

The teams will travel to Dublin earlier that week to practice and acclimate to the different time zone, as well as enjoy various cultural experiences. Kick-off time and TV details have not been announced.

“When first approached about this game almost two years ago, we had immediate interest,” University of Illinois director of athletics Josh Whitman said in a statement. “This game will provide an incredible educational opportunity for our football student-athletes who, because of their schedule, generally do not receive the same international experiences as many of our other student-athletes.”

The venue, normally used for rugby union games, has previously hosted a Notre Dame-Navy game in 2012 and a Boston College-Georgia Tech contest in 2016.