And then he looked up, seemingly talking to his father - Wallace - who was a huge influence in his life but passed away in September.
"I was talking to him throughout the game today," Bonnafon said. "I was getting a little emotional at the start of the third quarter, which doesn't really happen a lot.
"I could tell that he was with me. At the start of the fourth quarter, I got the chills too. I could feel his presence with me."
Wallace Bonnafon was certainly looking down and smiling on his son, but he wasn't the only person who was with him. The first person on the sidelines to greet him when he came off the field after each series - and one of the first people to meet him after the game - was injured starting quarterback Will Gardner.
The two QBs embraced near the 20-yard-line - Bonnafon still clutching the game ball in his right hand and Gardner said, 'Now that's what I am talking about baby.'
"We shared a couple of words together," Bonnafon said. "We are real tight, so it was great to have him in the sidelines and right there with me."
Bonanfon grew up a lot under the Golden Dome. The true freshman from Trinity High School struggled a bit in the third quarter, but re-grouped and led his team to a win.
After Notre Dame took a 20-17 lead, Bonnafon directed back-to-back scoring drives.
"I am really proud of him," U of L coach Bobby Petrino said. "Reggie is a great young man and a great leader. Everybody's behind him, all of his teammates are behind him and he kept his poise and just kept competing."
Bonnafon finished 8 of 21 passing for the day for 180 yards and one TD, while rushing 15 times for 35 yards and two TDs. He scored on runs of 8 and 12 yards in the first half.
"Things were a bit rough for a minute," Bonnafon said. "But we kept our composure and knew that we were going to turn it back around."
Bonnafon left the field, still clutching the game ball, and said he had never taken a game ball home with him during any part of his career - until now.
"I might have to take that one up with the equipment manager," he said, noting he wanted this one to stay in his bag.
A game ball, and a big smile from his pops.
"It's pretty special," Bonnafon said. "Pretty special.