MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri took the field at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge on Nov. 3 thinking his brother was going to score a major upset about 900 miles north in South Bend.
Sunseri's brother, Tino, quarterbacked Pittsburgh to a 20-6 lead after three quarters over Notre Dame, which was coming off its biggest win in nearly two decades the previous week at Oklahoma.
"I was like yeah, this one's in the bag," Alabama's Sunseri told CSNChicago.com on Saturday.
Sunseri didn't get to watch the rest of his brother's game, seeing as Alabama was in the midst of its biggest game of the season to date at LSU. But when he got back in to the locker room at halftime, he noticed Notre Dame won in triple overtime. Later, he called Tino to talk about the game.
"He just said it was a perfect storm kind of thing," Sunseri said. "It wasn't just the missed field goal, he said, he said 'I could've made more opportunities' -- he tried to put all the pressure on himself. The missed field goal was a big part of it, but he tried to put it all on himself saying he could've done more, he could've done certain things to put themselves in better situations."
Sunseri, though, didn't see things that way.
"I felt like he did all he could do during that game, he put them in situations and gave them opportunities," he said.
Tino Sunseri completed 19 of 29 passes for 164 yards with a touchdown, but was unable to do much of anything toward the end of the game. That proved costly, as it opened the door for an Irish comeback and, ultimately, its triple-overtime win.
Still, had Kevin Harper connected from 33 yards in double overtime -- or the officiating crew caught Bennett Jackson and Chris Brown wearing No. 2 on the field at the same time -- it may have been a different story that Saturday night.
The upshot would've been, then, that Alabama wouldn't be playing Notre Dame for a National Championship.
"Everything happens for a reason," Sunseri said, "and we're excited to go up against a great, historic program like Notre Dame."