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College Football
Ivan Maisel
September 10, 2001
Stemming The Tide UCLA's defense figured out how to stop Alabama and got the Bruins a rare road win
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September 10, 2001

College Football

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The rout vindicated the risky decision by new Rockets coach Tom Amstutz to switch to a spread attack despite the return of eight starters from the power rushing offense of a year ago, including senior tailback Chester Taylor, first team All-MAC in 1999 and 2000. "I thought about the offenses that keep me awake at night," says Amstutz, who spent 17 years as a defensive assistant at Toledo, the last seven as coordinator. "The offense I dread the most is the spread."

When the Gophers spread their defense in response to the new formation, the Rockets, who had 512 yards of total offense, wound up running the ball as often as they did last year. Taylor rushed 18 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns and caught five passes for 27 yards and a fourth score.

It was a day Amstutz will never forget. "It was my 46th birthday, I sold my old house at 9 a.m. and had my first night as head coach," he says. "A perfect dream."

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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