Saturday night did not go according to plan for the Arizona State football team.
The Sun Devils went into the opening game of the 2015 college football season with sky-high expectations of being in the mix for the college football playoffs.
There was perhaps no better stage for the Sun Devils to prove those expectations were not over the top than playing Texas A&M in the state of Texas on national television.
Unfortunately for the team and its fans, the Sun Devils did not perform like they were ready for the spotlight in their 38-17 loss to the Aggies.
A guest of the Bickley and Marotta Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday, former ASU QB and current Pac-12 Networks analyst Jake Plummer said it’s too early to throw in the towel despite a disappointing effort.
“I was disappointed, but I don’t know if I was extremely disappointed and ready to give up on those guys,” Plummer said. “It’s early, they played a tough team in a tough environment and got a full dose of what a couple of defensive ends who can be playing on Sundays can do to you when you are having trouble getting off on the snap count.
“That along with a couple of local kids having some daggers there, the Christian Kirk kid, was tough to watch. It was a good wake-up call, I don’t think the season is over. They lost to a quality opponent and I think they will go on to win some big games.”
The loss stings in the present, but Arizona State learned what it will take to beat a top 25 ranked team in the future.
Believe it or not, there were some bright spots that stood out to Plummer.
One of those positives was the performance of the defense, which forced three turnovers and sacked the quarterback three times. The Sun Devils held Texas A&M offense to just 10 points through the first three quarters and kept the team in the game until late.
Plummer was happy with their performance and blames the youth for tiring out in the fourth quarter.
“I was (pleased) too, I thought they did some really good things,” he said. “I liked what I saw in the middle, the big stout guys in the middle. JoJo Wicker, this freshman is a beast, a man child. He came in and made some big plays and they have a nice rotation there.
“Some of those young linebackers looked tired at the end of the game and saw what college football emotion can do to not only your body, but your energy level. It was a good learning experience and they played stout up front. It was a good showing by them. Obviously they want to win that game and go undefeated for the whole year, but you know a team with one loss can still make the playoffs and even two losses. For now they have to get back on track.”
Remember, last season Ohio State lost at home to a mediocre Virginia Tech team and still ran the table the rest of the way to winning a national championship.
The Sun Devils host Cal Poly and New Mexico before starting conference play at home against USC.
Arizona State’s loss did nothing to Plummer’s prediction of his alma mater winning the Pac-12 South this season.
“I still think they can bounce back and represent the South in the Pac-12 championship. If they can get to there that would be a great way to right the ship, it will be a lot of hard work, but they can get there.”