This competitiveness has value: It discourages submission and fuels comebacks. Eight times in his career Plummer has brought the Sun Devils back from fourth-quarter deficits, never letting a game or a play die without a struggle. "Jake is like the little kid at recess who cuts open his arm and still wants to keep playing," says friend Isaiah Mustafa, an Arizona State wide receiver. "Jake never wants recess to end."
Stanford learned. With Saturday's game still young and scoreless, Cardinal linebacker Brian Batson blitzed and arrived untouched at Plummer's right side. Seemingly doomed, Plummer stepped inside Batson—"Just trying to stay alive," he said later—and threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to J.R. Redmond. Batson was left flailing, empty-handed, trying to do what can't be done this autumn, trying to catch a Snake with his bare hands.
RECORD AT ARIZONA STATE: 24-16
CAREER PASSING YARDS: 8,626
TD PASSES: 64
PLUMMER SET Sun Devils records for career completions (613), attempts (1,107) and yards.
TEN YEARS had passed since Arizona State's last Rose Bowl berth before Plummer led ASU back to Pasadena with an undefeated regular season in 1996.
TWO YEARS later Plummer helped revive the Arizona Cardinals, quarterbacking the franchise to its first playoff game in 16 years. Today Plummer, who played pro handball after leaving the NFL, is an assistant high school football coach in Idaho.