Huskies vs. Irish at Fenway?

STORRS – Coaches Paul Pasqualoni and Brian Kelly seem warm to the idea of Connecticut and Notre Dame playing a football game at Fenway Park in Boston in 2014. But Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick quickly applied the brakes to speculation Tuesday before the scheduling train could build much momentum.

Swarbrick released a statement saying: "We have work to do on our future football schedules, given the announcement last week relative to our upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference relationship. However, media reports today that we will play Connecticut in Fenway Park in 2014 are inaccurate."

Hard to tell exactly what Swarbrick was terming inaccurate. It could be UConn as an opponent, Fenway as a location, or maybe the Irish AD is thinking of another season for the matchup.

The Boston Globe had reported that discussions had begun and the Red Sox "are actively seeking to bring college football back to Fenway Park." The story said UConn officials "feel the idea has merit" and Notre Dame "may be willing to shift a home game to Boston."

There are indications that the talks have slowed a bit since Notre Dame announced last week that it will move its other sports from the Big East to the ACC. Notre Dame football remains an independent but will begin a five-game obligation per season to the ACC beginning in 2014.

Both programs held their weekly media sessions Tuesday and when Pasqualoni was asked about the report he said, "It would be exciting." He also said that athletic director Warde Manuel was working on the non-conference schedule.

"The non-conference schedule," Pasqualoni said, "Connecticut has always played very, very high-level non-conference teams. We just finished up with two very good ACC teams [North Carolina State and Maryland]. We've got Tennessee coming on. We're working on it and it would be exciting. But that's all I know. I'm just the coach here. We talk about it. But that schedule business, that's a full time job."

UConn and Notre Dame have met just once. That 2009 game was historic for UConn, given the Huskies won 33-30 in double overtime at Notre Dame Stadium.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Kelly said, "I think it'd be cool. I'd like to do it," when asked about the Fenway report. "You know me, I love Fenway Park. I just don't know if it's big enough. We don't want to get into that Northwestern-Illinois game [at Wrigley Field] where the end zone isn't big enough."

In that 2010 Big Ten game at Wrigley only one end zone was used for safety concerns. Wrigley's east end zone was just a few feet away from the right-field wall. Football hasn't been played at Fenway since Dec. 1, 1968 when the Patriots beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 33-14.

"Green Monster seats," Pasqualoni said. "It's really a good place. No question about that. I know this; my kids would be excited. They love going up there. The food's real good there, too, if you've ever had a sausage and onions."

Notre Dame last played at Fenway on Oct. 14, 1944. The Irish defeated Dartmouth 64-0.


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