UNIVERSITY PARK - The scene was the old Beaver Stadium media room, and Penn State had just beaten Bowling Green to open the 1987 season for Joe Paterno's 200th career victory.
He was asked afterward, "is this the last 100-milestone you expect to pass?"
JoePa laughed and said, "Oh, I don't know. I may live to be a hundred, but I'm sure not going to be around for another hundred wins."
I remember the answer in part because I asked the question.
Fast forward 23 years later to Saturday.
The Nittany Lions shook off a lethargic start and recovered from a 21-0 deficit to beat Northwestern, 35-21, and, in doing so, allowed Paterno, now 83, to achieve the 400th victory of his incredible coaching career.
A moving video tribute rolled on the jumbo scoreboard. His wife Sue and the entire family, each member with a tear in his or her eye, surrounded him on a makeshift stage, and flashbulbs dotted the sky to capture a moment that is on a very short list of the most remarkable records in the history of sports.
"It's wonderful, beautiful," Steve Garban, president of Penn State Board of Trustees and a 1958 Lion captain who has seen all of Paterno's victories, said in the celebratory south end zone as the final seconds ticked off. "You're watching something that will never happen again."
No doubt. Whatever your preference is as the most unbreakable record in sports - be it Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Hack Wilson's 191 RBIs in a season or Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points in a single game - JoePa's win total has to be in the conversation.
"Records are made to be broken," longtime Penn State assistant coach Dick Anderson said. "But I don't know about this one."
All of the Penn State assistants were made available to the media for the first time after a game this year, and that was a fitting touch because they've clearly helped Paterno reach his unmatched heights.
To a man, they said he tried his best to deflect talk of No. 400 during the week in order that the Lions focus on Northwestern.
When they fell behind, he challenged both the offense and defense at halftime saying, "take it one play at a time," offensive line coach Bill Kenney said.
And when the defense made adjustments and the tide began to turn in the second half, "we went to another gear," defensive line coach Larry Johnson said, because the players wanted to help honor Paterno before the home fans.
"The players did an outstanding job," Anderson said. "They understood what was at stake."
As was the case when JoePa passed Bear Bryant's then-record of 323 victories in 2001 with a 29-27 win at home against Ohio State, the Lions had to come from way back to do it.
They trailed the Buckeyes 27-9 - which was the largest deficit a Paterno team had overcome at home. Until Saturday.
As the comeback was mounting and the Lions tied the game, fueled by a second-half defense that was the best the team played this year and another great performance by Matt McGloin, who obviously will now have to become the Nits' starting quarterback, "you could sense something special was going to happen," Johnson said.
Northwestern couldn't stem the tide, and JoePa - as he was after the national championships in 1982 and '87 and as he was after 200, 300 and 324 - was hoisted.
"I would be dishonest if I told you it wasn't a moving night," he said.
It was a scene none of the 104,147 on hand will ever forget.
And it made the early-season road losses almost worth it in order that No. 400 could be reached at home.
Anyone who has witnessed this amazing run to the record books can count themselves as a fortunate sports fan, and a total of 23 years and 200 wins later, congratulations are totally in order.
I don't know how many seasons or wins JoePa has left, but I'm rooting for him to live to be 100.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or email@example.com.