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Amato Is Right at Home in Return to Tallahassee

November 11, 2001

Florida State still feels like home to former Seminole assistant Chuck Amato.

And that's not only because his new team, North Carolina State, came into Tallahassee and knocked off No. 10 Florida State, 34-28, on Saturday ending the Seminoles' 39-0 run at home against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

Amato spent 18 seasons under Bobby Bowden at Florida State before leaving after last season to become head coach at N.C. State, his alma mater.

"You want to go there and do good so they can be proud of you," Amato said leading up to the game. "I lived there longer than any other place in my life. There are a lot of really good friends, not only on that field ... but sitting in the stands."

Amato and his wife, Peggy, who raised their twin daughters in Tallahassee, still have family and property in the Florida capital.

But Amato didn't find that familiarity was a benefit in preparing for the Seminoles.

"A benefit?" he asked. "It's a headache, and I don't get headaches. Just the mere fact I know their personnel."

He did something right as the Wolfpack defense held Florida State on two passes to the end zone in the closing seconds.

Amato could hardly contain himself afterward.

"I cried," Amato said. "Coach Bowden said, 'Chuck, you're supposed to be happy.' I said, 'When I'm happy I cry."'

Florida State quarterback Chris Rix wasn't surprised North Carolina State played his team so tough.

"Give credit to Chuck Amato and N.C. State," Rix said. "They outplayed us."

Familiar Ring

A 75-year-old football coach finally reaches a long-delayed milestone victory. Sound familiar?

No, it's not Penn State's Joe Paterno, who became the winningest coach in Division I-A history last month.

This time, it's Delaware Coach Tubby Raymond, who became the ninth coach in NCAA history to win 300 games after a 10-6 victory against Richmond.

Raymond is the fourth active Division I coach on the list, joining Paterno (325), Florida State's Bobby Bowden (321) and Eastern Kentucky's Roy Kidd (306). John Gagliardi of Division III St. John's (Minn.) is still active with 385 wins over 53 seasons.

The parallels between Raymond and Paterno are striking.

Each is 75 with Raymond about a month older. Each is in his 36th year as head coach at his school. Each took the job after serving a long apprenticeship under his predecessor, 12 years in Raymond's case and 15 for Paterno.

And each had to wait a lot longer than he had hoped for the milestone victory.

Paterno's wait for his 324th win, to pass Bear Bryant for the I-A record, was well chronicled. Raymond, whose team was 12-2 last season to leave him at 296, said he also expected to get the four he needed much earlier.

"It's such a wonderful thing," Raymond said afterward Saturday. "Delaware football has been my life and I've been lucky to see a lot of good things happen."

Healthy Respect

Much was made of Washington players not taking Oregon State seriously before the Beavers handed the No. 8 Huskies a 49-24 loss.

Sam Blanche wasn't one of them.

The Washington linebacker knew Oregon State's players were fighters, especially running back Ken Simonton.

"Last year I got a couple good hits on him and he popped right back up," Blanche said leading up to Saturday's game. "He's a true warrior. I'm excited to play against him."

Blanche considers Simonton a friend, actually. The two sat and talked for two hours one day this summer in the San Jose airport, where they just happened to see each other.

Blanche, who attended Rialto Eisenhower High, was on the way to visit his family in Pomona, his last summer trip before fall workouts began.

Simonton was heading back to Corvallis, Ore., after spending time with his family.

"He was looking forward to getting back into football," Blanche said. "We both talked about having a good senior season."

Simonton has struggled, but had 107 yards rushing and three touchdowns, including his first career receiving score, in Oregon State's victory.

Running Rampant

Three games into the season, Portland State running back Ryan Fuqua had carried the ball two times for minus-one yard.

In the fourth game, Fuqua, a redshirt freshman, finished with 112 yards in 18 carries, all in the second half of a 23-20 loss to Southwest Texas State.

But what he did Saturday sent his productivity through the roof. The former Ontario Christian High standout finished with a school-record 393 yards in 45 carries as Portland State defeated Eastern Washington, 37-22. It was the second-best Division I-AA total ever.

"I think everybody is kind of frustrated by the tailback-by-committee thing," Portland State Coach Tim Walsh told the Oregonian on Oct. 10. "We would like to come up with a guy, and I just don't believe we have yet."

We'll bet he's a believer now.

How 'Bout This Apple?

Major Applewhite passed his way into the Texas record book a long time ago. But after a season on the bench, he needed some way to end his career with a little glory.

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