The final preparation are being made in Croke Park for this weekend’s season opener between Penn State and UCF in Dublin.
With both teams arriving in Dublin today, the stage is set for over 40,000 fans to enjoy the second NCAA Division 1 college football game in two years after Notre Dame took on Navy in the Aviva Stadium in 2012.
UCF are coming in to this game off the back of a 12-1 season, which included a 34-31 win at PSU where now Jacksonville Jaguars backup quarterback Blake Bortles went 20-for-27 with 288 yards and three touchdowns.
2013 season with a win at Wisconsin finishing 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten.
PSU are currently serving a four year bowl ban, the penalty from their highly publicised child sex abuse scandal also included a $60 million fine and the NCAA vacated all of the program’s 112 wins from 1998 to 2011.
Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg is in his second season starting, last year he had a 58.9 completion percentage with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Although his number one target Allen Robinson, who had 40 percent of the team’s receptions, has moved on to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In the preseason redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo was named the No. 1 quarterback. If he starts on Saturday, he would be the first UCF freshman quarterback to start since Jeff Godfrey in 2010, and the first to start a season-opener since Daunte Culpepper in 1995.
Look out for Cork native Sean Galvin, who is the kick off specialist for UCF. Sean moved to the States in 2004 and has hopes of being drafted to the NFL next season.
Tickets are on sale for the Croke Park Classic through ticketmaster.ie and tickets.ie. For further information visit www.crokeparkclassic.ie.
Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson will join fellow NFL veteran Kyle Brady for the pregame coin toss before the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) in Dublin on Friday, August 29.
Pennsylvania high school American football rivals the Cedar Cliff Colts and Penn Manor Comets will open their new season at the University College Dublin UCD Bowl at 7pm on Friday and Dickerson and Brady will join the team captains at midfield before kickoff. The NFL greats will also be guests in the Global Football suite at Saturday’s game between Penn State and UCF, the Croke Park Classic partner event of GIFT 2014.
Dickerson played with the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts of the NFL during a distinguished career and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. He still holds the NFL rushing record of 2,105 yards in a single season set in 1984. Dickerson was selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft (second overall) by the Rams, having played college football at Southern Methodist University, where he was part of the famed ‘Pony Express’ rushing attack and was a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Former Penn State tight end Brady is the Honorary Chairman for the GIFT 2014 game and enjoyed 13 standout NFL seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots and New York Jets. He was a high school star for the Cedar Cliff Colts before making his mark with the Nittany Lions.
“We are honored to have Eric Dickerson join us in Dublin and thank him for his interest in this grassroots event,” said Global Football President Patrick Steenberge. “American football fans who were caught up in the craze that swept through Europe in the eighties will remember Eric for his devastating rushing performances that dominated the NFL for many years.
“Eric and Kyle join an illustrious group of professional football stars who have come out to support Global Football events over the years, which includes Emmitt Smith, Jason Taylor, Nick Saban and Leroy Butler.”
Tickets for GIFT 2014 are available at www.TicketGroup.ie priced €10 for adults and €5 for students. While fans not traveling to Ireland can watch the game streamed live on Aertv Sportslive for a subscription of $10.