Reggie Brooks PSU

Irish Memories: Reggie Brooks and the Snow Bowl


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.

Irish prepared to take on the best Navy team in years


Brian Kelly opens every Tuesday press conference with compliments for an opponent. But this week, it was easy to see that his kind words for Navy were hardly lip service.

Ken Niumatalolo will bring his most veteran—and probably his most talented—group of Midshipmen into Notre Dame Stadium, looking to hand the Irish their first loss in the series since Kelly’s debut season in South Bend.

“Ken Niumatalolo has done an incredible job in developing his program and currently carrying an eight-game winning streak,” Kelly said. “I voted for them in USA Today Top 25 as a top-25 team. I think they’ve earned that. But their defense as well has developed. It’s played the kind of defense that I think a top 25 team plays.”

With nine months of option preparation, Notre Dame needs to feel confident about their efforts against Georgia Tech. Then again, the Midshipmen saw that game plan and likely have a few tricks in store.

As much as the Irish have focused their efforts on stopping Keenan Reynolds and the triple-option, Navy’s much-improved defense is still looking for a way to slow down a team that’s averaged a shade over 48 points a game against them the last four seasons.

Niumatalolo talked about that when asked about slowing down Will Fuller and Notre Dame’s skill players, an offense that’s averaged over 48 points a game during this four-game win streak.

“We’ve got to try our best to keep [Fuller] in front of us, that’s easier said than done,” Niumatalolo said. “We’ve got to play as close as we can without their guys running past us. I’ve been here a long time and we’re still trying to figure out how to do that.”


Navy heads to South Bend unbeaten, defeating former Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco‘s team just two Saturdays ago. And while Diaco raised a few eyebrows when he said Navy would be the team’s toughest test of the year (they already played a ranked Missouri team), the head of the UConn program couldn’t have been more effusive in his praise.

“I have been competing against Navy for some time and this is the best Navy team I have seen for, let’s say the last half-dozen years,” UConn coach Bob Diaco told the New Haven Register. “I could click on footage from three years ago and see a lion’s share of players who are playing right now in the game as freshmen and sophomores. They have a veteran group, a strong group, a talented group and they look like the stiffest competition among our first four opponents.”

As usual, there will be those who look at this game as the breather between Clemson and USC. That won’t be anybody inside The Gug. So as the Irish try to get back to their winning ways in front of a home crowd, a complete team effort is needed.

“I’ll take a win by one,” Kelly said Tuesday. “That would be fine with me.”


Kelly confident Robinson will rebound

Notre Dame v Florida State

Corey Robinson‘s season was already off to a slow start. And that was before a difficult night at Clemson. The junior receiver came into last weekend with only four catches, held out against UMass after a pregame tweak of his knee put a scare into the Irish.

Robinson’s knee checked out fine. But mentally, it appears that the sure-handed junior is struggling.

Just before halftime against the Tigers, Robinson failed to reel in a long catch that would’ve given the Irish a much-needed touchdown heading into half. Early in the fourth quarter, a high throw from DeShone Kizer on the Irish’s first failed two-point conversion play slid through Robinson’s hands. Made worse was a mental mistake by Robinson, the Irish needing to use one of their second half timeouts when the junior wasn’t on the field.

Coached hard on the sideline by Brian Kelly and coached up by his position coach Mike Denbrock (as we saw on both Showtime and Fighting Irish Media’s ICON), the staff is doing it’s best to get Robinson’s confidence back.

With some wondering if Robinson’s struggles should open the door for talented freshman Equanimeous St. Brown, Kelly talked about their belief that the junior will return to form.

“Corey Robinson is going to get the job done. I had a very lengthy conversation with him yesterday,” Kelly said Tuesday. “I believe in Corey. Corey’s got to believe in himself, and he will. He’s got to go attack the football. He’s letting the football come to him. He’s letting it eat him up a little bit, but I believe in Corey.”

There’s no better place to showcase that belief than against Navy. The Midshipmen don’t have a defender physically capable of matching up with the 6-foot-5 Robinson, who will likely face his share of single coverage with Will Fuller likely demanding safety help.

Then it’s just a matter of Robinson showing the hands and confidence that made him one of last year’s most consistent performers.

“Once he starts attacking the football, I think we’re going to see somebody that can make the plays that we expect him to make,” Kelly said. “So I’m optimistic that we’re going to see the guy that we need to see on Saturday.”