Revisiting ASU athletics' most memorable moments during the week of Sept. 20

This week in Sun Devil history included the 1996 football team's upset over No. 1 Nebraska

The fourth week of September has provided ASU sports fans with many noteworthy events throughout its history, including arguably one of the biggest upsets in NCAA football history.

Sept. 21, 1996: ASU shuts out Nebraska 19-0

In one of the greatest upsets in NCAA football history, the Sun Devils shutout the two-time defending national champions and then-No. 1 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers 19-0.

Heading into this game, the Cornhuskers won their last 26 games overall and 37 consecutive regular-season games.

In an interview with The State Press, former ASU quarterback Jake Plummer said the only individuals who truly believed they could win were the players. He said the team had a “quiet confidence” heading into the game. 

Even so, Plummer said that the fans did not share that confidence.

“I remember just feeling that there was a lot of doubt surrounding our chances to win the game,” Plummer said. “Driving to the stadium, there was very little maroon and gold and there was a sea of red everywhere.”

ASU's victory also came on the night the field at Sun Devil Stadium was officially named after former ASU football coach Frank Kush. Plummer said he used the commemoration ceremony as fuel for his pre-game speech.

“When we got to the stadium, Frank Kush was on the cover of the program and it was all about the past and these great teams of lore,” Plummer said. “I took one of those programs and basically defaced it, saying ‘This isn’t about us. Tonight’s about this old man that coached years ago. Let’s go out there tonight and make sure they remember us.’” 

Years later, Plummer told Kush about this pre-game story and had Kush grinning “from ear to ear.” Plummer said Kush loved the story because “he loved fiery passionate leaders and that’s what I was.”

Plummer said looking back on that 1996 season makes him appreciate everything he and his “brothers” were able to accomplish at ASU.

“It was a very exciting and memorable year. We had some wicked, crazy exciting games that really endeared us to the fans,” Plummer said. “We had a pretty cool cast of characters on that team that really banded together as brothers, cared about each other and were guided by (former head coach) Bruce Snyder. It is special to still be a team that’s talked about.”

Sept. 24, 1932: Arizona State opens season with a 99-0 victory over Casa Blanca

The Arizona State Bulldogs, one of two mascots adopted before the Sun Devils, opened up their season with a 99-0 victory over the Casa Blanca Indians at Irish Field in Tempe, Arizona.

The Bulldogs finished the season 4-3-1  in the third and final season under head coach Ted Shipkey. 

The Bulldogs represented the Arizona State Teachers College at the time, which later became Arizona State University.

Sept. 26, 2019: ASU volleyball sweeps Arizona for first time since 2013

In their Pac-12 opening match, the Sun Devils swept rival UA in straight sets for the first time since September 24, 2013. ASU won the sets by scores of 25-20, 25-16 and 25-19.

This win was also the Sun Devils' first win in a Pac-12 opener since 2015.

The Sun Devils hit 33% throughout the match, their highest percentage of the year up to that point.

“We finally just took ownership that this is our team and this is our offense,” setter Callie Jones said to The State Press after the game. “We’re clicking much better than we ever have." 


Reach the reporter at cfahrend@asu.edu and follow @chris_drop_ on Twitter.

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