Rooney's "Rudy"

By Kyle Kensingon, NCAA.com
October 13, 2009 2:47 PM

Tied with No. 19 and undefeated Holy Cross in the game's final minutes, Brown brought on junior kicker Patrick Rooney to attempt a 34-yard, game-winning field goal. The boot went through the uprights, giving the Bears a 34-31 victory.

Not a bad introduction to varsity game play for Rooney, whose teammates greeted him after the game with a chant worthy of his cinematic finish.

"When [head coach Phil Estes] got in [the locker room], things quieted down and he said, 'Where's Rudy?' [The team] started up a 'Rudy' chant," Rooney said with a laugh.

Harkening to the 1993 film depiction of former Notre Dame walk-on Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, Rooney's Brown teammates welcomed the defensive back-turned-kicker to the big time.

"I had dreams of intercepting for touchdowns to win games, but kicking the winning field goal is just as exciting," he said.

Rooney played in the secondary for the Bears' junior varsity team, but it was as kicker he got his opportunity, something he attributes to a "great secondary."

"I'm just glad I got to do my part for the team," he said.

And what a part. Rooney realized the implications, saying: "I could be the hero or the goat.

"I tried to make it seem to myself like it wasn't a big deal, but I definitely had some butterflies in my stomach walking out there,"

Brown quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero led a Bear drive that brought Rooney within range.

"[Holy Cross is] a really good team with a really good offense, so I didn't want them to get an opportunity in overtime," Rooney said. "[Holy Cross quarterback Dominic] Randolph is a great quarterback. Him and Kyle really put on a show with their passing."

The two teams combined for 940 yards offense, 842 of which came through the air. And to the point of Rooney's kick, 62 points, so his assumption more points could be scored in overtime seems like a logical one.

"It was a great snap, a great hold...I knew [the rest of the team on the field] was going to do what they needed to do. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was good.

Even so, Rooney said, he never actually saw the ball split the uprights.

"I kept my head down throughout the kick. Joe [Springer] was actually the first guy I saw with his hands up signaling it was good. I was overjoyed when everyone stormed the field."

An apropos wrap to Rooney's silver screen-like debut.