Finally, at the season's finish line, Jake the Snake's venom was shown to be nontoxic after all.
He generated another late-game miracle play, but Ohio State's second-string quarterback, Joe Germaine, one-upped him.
And Jake Plummer indicated he felt it coming, Ohio State's final-minute take-down of Arizona State's unbeaten season in the Rose Bowl.
"Sure, I was worried," Plummer said afterward, when asked about the 12-play Buckeye drive that deep-sixed his 11-yard scramble for a touchdown that gave the Sun Devils a 17-14 lead with 1:40 to go.
"I was worried the whole time," he said of the final Buckeye drive.
"I knew we were playing a team with a great offense. They'd made big plays all year and they'd made them against us today.
"Their defense was relentless, and it kept me out of rhythm, to a certain extent.
"But we were prepared for everything they did. Sure, we were tired--but so were they."
And that was pretty much all Plummer had to say. He entered the interview room chewing on a fresh hunk of bubble gum and had handled half a dozen questions without difficulty . . . when Arizona State sports information people abruptly gave him a quick hook.
Off to the bus he was led, pursued by furious media representatives wanting much more from the quarterback.
Down 14-10, and faced with what would probably be the Sun Devils' final drive, Plummer went to work. By this point in the 83rd Rose Bowl game, it was apparent Plummer would have to do it with his arm. The Sun Devils, who had averaged 249 rushing yards, finished with 75 Wednesday.
Plummer had moved Arizona State 49 yards, where he found himself with a third-and-goal at the Buckeye 11. He looked for a receiver, found none, and tucked it away.
First he eluded the grasp of Ohio State's outstanding freshman linebacker, Andy Katzenmoyer, then changed direction twice while eluding two more tacklers. Finally, in the cold late-afternoon mist, he dived into Ohio State's gray-and-scarlet end zone.
Arizona State 17, Ohio State 14. And 100 seconds to go for 12-0.
Arizona State wound up 11-1 because Ohio State moved 65 yards and scored with 19 seconds left to conclude one of the Rose Bowl's great defensive matchups.
Arizona State Coach Bruce Snyder said he saluted his team and Plummer. When the Sun Devils came up their tunnel to the locker room, their heads were down and they were quiet. No loud curses, no thrown helmets.
"I just told my team they'd given me everything they had and I thanked them for their great work ethic," Snyder said.
"They didn't want to just come to the Rose Bowl, they wanted to win it."
Of Plummer, Snyder said: "Those who hadn't seen Jake play this year, probably thought that looked like a miracle play . . . but he's done that all year. He's truly a great, great college football player."
Then Snyder applauded Ohio State's Germaine, who canceled out Plummer's touchdown.
"That was a lot of composure on Joe's part, I admire what he did," he said.
On the slow, quiet march from the losers' locker room to the three team buses, the Sun Devils expressed frustration at having an unbeaten season snatched from their grasp.
"We're very disappointed . . . we came here to win it," said defensive end Derrick Rodgers, who spent most of the day trying to get around 320-pound Buckeye tackle Orlando Pace.
"We were prepared for what they did offensively, there were no surprises . . . yes, Pace is really good. The best I've ever faced? I don't know, I can't say that right now."
And there was this, from Juan Roque, Plummer's protector at left offensive tackle:
"They had the best run defense we've seen this year, but we beat ourselves to a certain extent with bad execution, too.
"Coach [Snyder] just told us we were the best team he'd ever coached or even been around . . . it's a shame we couldn't have won it for him."
Of Ohio State's winning drive, Roque said bowl experience may have decided it. It was the Buckeyes' seventh consecutive bowl appearance, Arizona State's first in ten years.
"They've been in a lot of bowls, maybe their experience kicked in, I don't know. Whatever, it doesn't feel too good for us right now."