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Irish Memories: Reggie Brooks and the Snow Bowl

Mar 17, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT

Reggie Brooks PSU

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 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.

  1. tlndma - Mar 17, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    I can not remember a more spectacular catch in the clutch catch than Reggie’s in the Snow Bowl. The DVR is set for 5pm at my house. That game was EPIC. Joe Paterno’s reaction to Reggie’s catch was special. You could almost read his mind, “Well someone had to win and someone had to lose and if your going to lose, at least it was a special play that beat you.” Thanks Reggie.

  2. 1historian - Mar 17, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    Is it by design that none of the most memorable moments happened more than 19 years ago?

    • Keith Arnold - Mar 17, 2011 at 12:38 PM

      Yes. It’s memorable moments during ND/NBC, which started then.

  3. fishergrl78 - Mar 17, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    I have a book of the greatest comebacks in ND history and this game is on there and I love listening to it over and over again-no really the narration as its done by Regis Philbin but listeing to the ‘Reggie Brooks caught it, Reggie Brooks caught it for a two point conversion and the Irish are out in front 17-16’ is so THRILLING!

    Now, i’m going to go watch it! Thank you for giving me this great gift on St. Patricks Day! My grandfather who passed away 35 years ago today is watching this with me and he was a huge Irish fan. I never met him but he passed on his Irish spirit to me :) Thank you Reggie and thank you Notre Dame.


  4. fightinmad35 - Mar 17, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Am I the only one a little irritate that the Bush Push game is considered a classic Notre Dame moment? Yes our team played great and should have won but it the calls weren’t made and we lost. I don’t remember being more excited than when I was watching that game and never felt so low as a football fan than after. A loss is a loss and that one hurt. Not classic in my opinion.

    • tlndma - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      FM35, I have a similar problem getting excited to watch the FSU game. Knowing what happened the following week dampens my desire to watch it.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Apr 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    beating PSU is always great and this game for me personally will always be near the top

  6. loyalirish - Apr 17, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    This game was on my 6th birthday and still to this day is the best birthday present I have ever gotten. Nothing like beating your arch nemesis (I grew up in PA and hated PSU with a passion) while at a party for the game at a Penn State fanatics’ house. I did so many laps around their basement when we won.

    I have a huge poster of it hanging in my room as well as the game on DVD and I typically watch it once a year or so (gotta find some ND football to watch during the bye week).

    GO IRISH!!

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