The Penn State Nittany Lions will open their 2014 season against Central Florida in Dublin's Croke Park, according to a statement by the PSU athletic department Sunday. The Aug. 30 contest, sponsored by the Gaelic Athletic Association, will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Dublin time -- or 8:30 a.m. ET -- with television coverage on ESPN2. Details of the "Croke Park Classic" were announced by GAA director Páraic Duffy:
"This is a hugely significant event for Croke Park and Ireland. We in the GAA are looking forward to hosting a competitive sporting occasion," said Duffy. "Irish people are renowned for their love of sport as evidenced by the thousands who attend our games throughout the year. I have no doubt that this game will be every bit as attractive."
The Croke Park Classic will be the first college football game played in Ireland since the 2012 season opener between Notre Dame and Navy, and the first at the 69,000-seat Croke Park since 1996. Neither the Nittany Lions nor the Knights have ever played overseas.
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien was enthusiastic about the opportunity:
"Our players and coaches are so excited to go to Ireland and play a college football game in such a historic and outstanding venue. I have great respect for Coach O'Leary and his team and playing UCF in Ireland will be a fantastic experience for all the players, coaches and fans."
The Nittany Lions were previously scheduled to host the Temple Owls on Aug. 30. That game has been moved to Nov. 15, an open date for both programs.