After all the losses, all the blown opportunities this season, Notre Dame coach Bob Davie should have known better.
But there he was, feeling good as he stood on the sidelines with three seconds left, Notre Dame leading 21-17 and Navy at its own 29. Three more seconds and the Irish (4-5) would have their NCAA-record 34th consecutive victory over Navy (3-4).
And then Navy quarterback Chris McCoy launched a 69-yard Hail Mary pass that bounced off Irish safety Deke Cooper and fell into Pat McGrew's hands. Davie and the rest of the Irish watched in horror before cornerback Allen Rossum shoved McGrew out of bounds at the 1-yard line as time ran out.
The Irish fans, who were watching in stunned silence, let out a huge roar. Navy tackle David Viger threw his helmet, and it appeared to smash apart.
"Just amazing to see that take place in front of your eyes," Davie said, shaking his head. "I honestly could not believe it."
Neither could McGrew.
"I thought I knocked down the pylon in the end zone," he said.
For Irish defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, it practically was a replay of his worst nightmare. Mattison was the defensive line coach at Michigan in 1994 when Colorado beat the Wolverines on Kordell Stewart's desperation pass to Michael Westbrook.
"Please don't do this to me now," Mattison said. "Any time that happens, I look and I go, "Oh, no, you can't get me twice in a career.' "