Considering today is St. Patrick’s Day and our friends at Versus are running a triple-header marathon this evening to celebrate, I caught up with former Irish All-American Reggie Brooks, who was fairly instrumental in one of the greatest Notre Dame football games ever, the 1992 last-second victory over Penn State in the game now known as The Snow Bowl.
As one of the ten finalists for the most memorable moments on NBC, the 1992 Snow Bowl easily goes down as one of the iconic memories of modern Irish lore, with Irish Impact posters still adorning dorm and bedroom walls almost 20 years later.
Reggie, now working for Notre Dame athletics as a manager with the Monogram Club and in Football Alumni Relations, was kind enough to talk with me and take a look back at the Irish’s 17-16 win over Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions, which was capped off by his two-point conversion diving catch — on a play ad libbed by Lou Holtz on the sideline — vaulting the Irish to victory.
Here’s more from Reggie on what he remembers:
“The biggest thing was that final drive. People lock in on that touchdown pass to Jerome and that two-point play to me. But look at the 4th down play, where Derrick Mayes, a freshman, takes the ball away from the defense to keep the drive going…
“We had a bunch of guys committed to winning and that play, by a freshman, was huge. I can’t speak highly enough of Derrick, all the catches he made and the records he set while he was at Notre Dame.
“But there was a calmness of the group on that drive. There was no panic in that drive. This is what we do. We go out and make plays. Some way, some how. It was never about winning the game, it was about winning our last game as seniors, especially considering the last two senior classes didn’t win their last home games…
“Did I think this game would be a classic? I was just glad to get off the field. It was mass hysteria and we pretty much got mobbed after the game by a whole bunch of people, there wasn’t anything called risk management back then. I was just thankful that Irv Smith was able to pull people off of me.”
A few years ago before the Irish were set to play Penn State, Reggie returned to that corner of the endzone with Jack Nolan of UND.com and they did a great feature on the play, the game, and what led up to Reggie’s great catch. It’s well worth the time and watching the video.