Tag Archives: nebraska

Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Illinois Fighting Illini

Three things we learned in compiling this Nebraska – Illinois preview:

1. The Illinois Fighting Illini must have had one roll of film in their camera during the 1980’s. Case in point, a Google Image Search for Jeff George. There is not a single photo of him and his sweet mustache in an Illinois uniform to be found on the internet which really throws our plans for a sweet stache bash between George and Jordan Westerkamp for a loop.

Jeff George Mustache

2. If photos the most famous/notorious player to ever wear blue and orange barely exist, good luck finding a photo of Jordan Westerkamp’s dad Bob in action for the Fighting Illini.

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3. Jordan Westerkamp’s older brother Matt has an amazing mullet.

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Between Jordan’s stache and Matt’s mullet, the Westerkamp bros could give the Franco bros a run for their money.

Now that your mind is blown, here’s what you need to know about tonight’s match up.

Confidence: The Illini travel to Nebraska for the second year in a row (nice scheduling, Big Ten) and the outcome won’t be any different.

Scouting Report: According to Steven M. Sipple, the Illini run Tim Beck’s favorite offense – that multiple one. They come in to Lincoln with a 3-1 record- their lone loss a drubbing at the hands of a rebuilding Washington team. It’s also worth noting that the Illini’s first victory was at the expense of Youngstown State so it will be interesting to see if Bo Pelini goes for a little get back in honor of his hometown. Illinois might burn Nebraska a couple of times but look for the Blackshirts to have things on lock down by halftime.

Ideal Scenario: First and foremost the 8pm(!) kickoff should be late enough to scare away the blue hairs who would otherwise sit on their keisters and complain about the Huskers’ alternate uniforms.

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The helmet is killer. The actual uniform is still a little off. The reflective numbers and accents are going to wreak havoc for photographers.

Continue to see Ameer Abdullah go HAM. With Oregon off this week, ESPN will be Marcus Mariotta free so tonight is a great chance for Ameer to be in the spotlight and build his Heisman case, except that dang 8pm kick off (the blue hairs may have a valid point) means the game won’t end unit close to 1am on the East Coast. So here’s to Ameer going off in the first half.

The other storyline to consider is if Jordan Westerkamp will show any mercy to his home state team and his dad’s alma mater. Illinois and every other school recruited Jordan before he ultimately chose Nebraska. Here’s hoping his roommate slings a few big passes his way.

Look for the Husker starters to turn things over to the back ups by the early 4th quarter and start resting up for next week’s showdown at Michigan State. The Husker faithful stay in the stands until the very end unless making it to last call with time to spare becomes an issue.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 with the game on the Big Ten Network and a soft opponent, don’t look for Bo’s rage to be an issue tonight.

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Marching Band to Honor Ameer Abdullah. Husker Fans Outraged.

Tomorrow night, while Ameer Abdullah is taking a breather in the locker room, the Husker marching band will pay tribute to his so far amazing season with a ‘Fear Ameer’ homage of their own.

Naturally, this gesture has been met with resistance.

From the Lincoln Journal Star’s Facebook page-

Ammer Abdullah Journal Star
While the very premise of this site is to focus on the inane comments from the “most knowledgeable fans in college football,” we’ll be the first to admit we’re happy to be scraping the bottom of the comment barrel this far into the Huskers’ season.

With the team 4 and 0 and firing on most cylinders most of the time, Bo Pelini keeping his rage in check, and Tim Beck having lost the pages of his playbook that don’t involve getting the ball to Abdullah, this season has been drama free.

UNTIL THE DAMN MARCHING BAND ANNOUNCED THEIR PLANS TO GET CUTE.

We agree, Christy Sueverkruepp, you shouldn’t dare spell Fear Ameer without also spelling out Alexis Lewis, Jake Cotton, Mark Pelini, Mike Moudy, and Zach Sterup.

But why stop there? You gotta dream big just like those guys lower on the depth chart who are working just as hard as the starters. They deserve credit too. It just isn’t fair and we gotta say, seeing Chongo Kondolo spelled across Tom Osborne Field would look pretty bad ass.

However, Suzanne Brown, we do need to pump the brakes on your suggestion to honor the “smart students.” By your definition, what qualifies as “smart?” The several thousand student’s who make the Dean’s List each semester, or would you require someone with a 4.0 or even higher achievements? But then again, even though an ACT score of only 18 was required for this author to get into UNL, you do have to be pretty smart to even be in college.

And to borrow Christy’s logic, what about the professors who made the students so smart in the first place? If being a Heisman Trophy contender is grounds for getting your catchphrase spelled by the marching band, then Roger W. Mandigo deserves no less than John Philip Sousa‘s entire catalog for inventing the motherf’ing McRib.

Finally, in semi-related news, an Omaha World Herald employee has take to his employer’s Facebook Page to complain about the oppressively late start times of Husker games.
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Oh Joshua, we wish we could be in the same room as you when you find out tomorrow night’s kickoff is at the ungodly late hour of 8pm.

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Nebraska vs Miami: Breaking Down the Play of the Game

Before we turn our focus to Nebraska’s Big Ten opener with Illinois, let’s take one final look at the Miami game – specifically the play that was the final nail in Hurricanes’ coffin.

It was a thing of Blackshirt beauty and was no accident.

The Huskers settled for a field goal to go up by 10 with nine minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Miami got the ball back starting from their own 25. Four plays and barely two minutes later, they were at the Nebraska 35 but had stalled out.

Looking down the barrel an absolutely crucial 4th and 4, Nebraska called time out and Coach Papuchis “saw something” and called for true freshman Josh Kalu to drop into zone coverage.

What Igor signaled was a classic example of pattern matching.

(Quick plug time: If you really want to learn about what makes a defense tick, Chris Brown‘s Essential Smart Football is the best $7.49 you will ever spend.)

Now back to the play at hand. It’s 4th and 4 at the Nebraska 35. The Huskers had finally found an answer for Hurricanes’ screen passes and had all but shut down running back Duke Johnson. The most appealing option left for Miami would be a pass along the sideline to one of their hoss receivers. This is a well they dipped into throughout the night with much success.

As Nebraska lines up for the snap, notice how deep Nate Gerry is playing.

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This is all just  a ruse. As Miami’s Brad Kaaya begins his snap count, Gerry creeps towards the line of scrimmage but he’s not blitzing.

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Notice how Gerry comes set at the exact moment Kaaya receives the snap.

The play begins and Kalu starts shuffling back to cover Miami’s slot receiver until he breaks to the inside. Instantly, Kalu hands him off to Gerry who is positioned perfectly to continue covering the receiver.

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Seamlessly “turning over” a receiver to another defender is a key element of pattern matching.

Kaaya releases the ball under the assumption that he’s throwing into one-on-one coverage, a situation where Miami’s receiving corps dominated the entire game- until Josh Kalu seemingly appears out of nowhere and intercepts the ball so effortlessly you’d think it was thrown to him on purpose.

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This pass had 1st down written all over it until Josh Kalu said otherwise.

Among all the big time plays Nebraska made Saturday night, this one was the biggest. A perfect, designed outcome in a clutch situation. Kalu’s grand entrance on the Blackshirt stage was reminiscent of an unknown kid by the name of Eric Hagg being turned loose at the end of the 2009 Gator Bowl and coming up huge with a pass break up and a sack when Clemson was looking at a 1st and ballgame from the Nebraska 10 yard line.

While the Husker peanut gallery would love a big play every time the Blackshirts are on the field, the years have shown Pelini doesn’t reach for the ace in the hole until his team is right on the edge of falling into one.

Think of it as the Blackshirt  version of Hulking up.

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It’s Time Coach Papuchis Got a Nickname

Unlike the half dozen or so fans at our Husker watch site afflicted with a Tourette’s like compulsion to yell some variation of Papuchis any time there’s a Blackshirt miscue, I will proudly go on record and say that I love the guy.

While this love for John Papuchis isn’t quite at the level of a serious man crush, there is solid admiration for a dude of decidedly modest stature who can lead and motivate a legion bad asses and doesn’t melt when Bo Pelini’s rage goes thermonuclear.

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Papuchis may not melt under the glare of Pelini but a little personal security is never a bad idea.

In fact, as the match up with Miami showed, it appears his third season as Defensive Coordinator is a charm for Papuchis. Watch as he harnesses Pelini’s rage into his own after the interception that was nullified due to a bogus roughing the passer call.

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Just look at that laser focus. Papuchis is like a lion cub stalking his very first prey. He ignores Kenny Bell’s plea to get out of the scrum and tentatively joins the polite conversation. Notice how he licks his lips and goes for the kill. You can clearly tell he’s saying ‘after his pass’ to hammer home Pelini’s argument. While his head veins might not have the same bulge as his boss’, it’s clear Papuchis has forgotten what it’s like to know fear- like a guy who has spent a lot of time being exposed to Heart of Darkness kind of stuff.

Seriously, just look at the way he bares his fangs. Papuchis might have a baby face but that is the look of a man ready to tear out his first throat.

Pelini Papuchis

But where have we seen this expression before?

John Papuchis vs Igor

Oh hello, Igor.

Before you say bestowing the nickname Igor upon Papuchis is rude, consider for a moment the monsters he and his master have created. These are but only two of their masterpieces.

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Ndamukong Suh

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Fresno State Bulldogs

When the Cornhuskers and Bulldogs last met, a true freshman named Ameer Abdullah saved the day for Nebraska.

What will he do as a senior?

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Confidence: Um… Go Big Red? — Coming off last week’s “miracle” win against McNeese State, who really knows which Husker team will show up in Fresno? Couple that with the fact that for some reason, this trip to the Grand Island of California has been hyped as the ultimate trap game (despite Fresno State being a disastrous 0-2), the best my Magic 8-Ball can do is request that I ask again later.

Scouting Report: Derek Carr, the Fresno State QB who gave Nebraska fits back in 2011, is now slumming it with the Raiders and Taylor Martinez, the QB who gave everyone fits, is getting ready to embark in a career in real estate. The great Fresno State welfare scandal is a distant memory. Pat Hill, the coach who instilled the Bulldogs’ anytime, anywhere attitude grew out his sweet mustache and went back to building choppers.

PAT HILL

Meanwhile, Bo Pelini is still roaming the Nebraska sideline though the Bo-Must-Go crowd has already smashed the record for earliest torch lighting after last Saturday’s game 2 debacle.

Three years after their inaugural meeting, it’s safe to say the Cornhuskers and Bulldogs are facing each other for the first time all over again.

One player who wasn’t around back in 2011 (or even much this season) is Imani Cross. With the Bulldogs’ horrid run defense set to key in on Abdullah, Cross could be the Huskers’ secret weapon.

Plus, it would make his mom really happy if her son got more touches.
Sharon Cross
Seriously. This is Imani’s mom and she’s laying down what everyone but Tim Beck seems to know– unleash the kraken.

Ideal Scenario: 10-15,000 Nebraska fans do what they do best and swarm tiny Bulldog Stadium, neutralizing the home field advantage. Tommy Armstrong transforms into TOUCHdown Tommy by figuring out how to put a little air under all those near-miss deep balls he’s been chucking up. The Huskers score though the air and the ol’ ground and pound en route to a comfortable win that none of the whiny blue hairs get to see thanks to the late start time and their inability to figure out a DVR and/or a VCR. And last but not least, the Blackshirts make their presence known by making it a long night for Fresno State QB Brandon Connette.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: No line this week. This is either going to be one of those games where Bo is either all smiles or goes full Texas A&M. Besides, we won’t be able to confirm because we’ll be in attendance and have no idea how to find CBS Sports Network in that haystack of 500 cable channels.

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Big Ten Impotence Rankings

“Dr. Delany. Paging Dr. Delany. You’re needed in the emergency room.”

“What seems to be the problem, nurse?”

“It’s the conference. It’s choking on something.”

“Well let’s have a look. Let me stick my fingers in here a moment… Ah-ha! Here’s the problem.”

“What is it, doctor?”

“Donkey balls. It appears the conference has been sucking on them.”

I originally intended to do a week 2 “power” ranking for the Big 10 Conference, but after seeing how each team looks hell-bent on proving who is the most namby-pamby, I’ve decided to respect their wishes and rank the conference teams according to inadequacy.

So here goes.

WEEK 2 BIG 10 IMPOTENCE RANKINGS

1. Northwestern (0-2)

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It’s the Wildcats who have swung the limpest of dicks so far this season. Featuring the nation’s 113th ranked scoring offense and 80th ranked scoring defense, Northwestern has lollygagged out to an 0-2 start to the year. They first headed to Berkeley and got golden-showered on by the Golden Bears — a school that went 1-11 last year — and then came home and lost to Northern Illinois. Granted, the Huskies are used to beating Big 10 teams by now. But still, it’s goddamn Northern Illinois.

2. Purdue (1-1)

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The Boilermakers have gone one for two in their attempt to pad their win total via a gauntlet of Michigan directional schools. It looked like a brilliant strategy, in week #1 at least. But Central Michigan is no Western Michigan, evidently.

3. Ohio State (1-1)

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Week 1 showed that things were definitely amiss in Columbus without Braxton Miller in the driver’s seat. Week 2 proved that Ohio State is nothing more than pellets for a flock of Hokies.

An old Ohio State alum can probably tell you what it’s like to sit through a four-loss season, Buckeyes. Because that looks to be where you are headed.

4. Michigan (1-1)

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Notre Dame ended your series like a disinterested ex-lover. Then proceeded to take your house, your car, your dog and your manhood. The clock may be ticking on Brady Hoke’s tenure in Ann Arbor.

5. Indiana (1-0)

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The Hoosiers had little problem with in-state nemesis, Indiana State. But being the only game on Indiana’s resume thus far still puts them higher on the impotence scale than a pair of Big 10 losers. Getting stopped by the Sycamores on fourth down twice inside the red zone doesn’t help, either.

But hey, the alternate uniforms sure are dandy!

6. Michigan State (1-1)

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Sparty went out to Eugene with one single mission. Show the world that the nation’s top-ranked defense didn’t merely build its resume on the dubious backs of an offensive bush league.

And how did that go?

Well, if surrendering 500 yards and 46 points is your idea of making that statement, then mission accomplished.

7. Wisconsin (1-1)

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Does a 34-point win over Western Illinois do anything to lessen the pitiful display of Wisconsin’s wet-noodle-tackling, lame-duck-tossing blown 4th quarter against LSU?

No.

8. Rutgers (2-0)

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Not a bad start for the Scarlet Knights. As long as giving up 1,000 yards to winless Washington State and Howard doesn’t worry you. No cause for concern in Piscataway. Right?

9. Minnesota (2-0)

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Out-yarded by both cream-puffs so far this season. Good thing the Gopher defense is killing it in the take-away department.

10. Iowa (2-0)

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Pair of shitty wins over a pair of shitty opponents.

11. Illinois (2-0)

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A guy with the first name of “Wonderful” put a scare into the Illini on Saturday. Western Kentucky was supposed to be an easy win for Illinois, but the Illini needed all of 21 points in the 4th quarter just to get some breathing room.

12. Penn State (2-0)

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Within spitting distance of being the League’s best team is a program that isn’t even eligible for the post season.

13. Nebraska (2-0)

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Okay, Nebraska narrowly escaping overtime against FCS school McNeese State does come with a few caveats. The Cowboys — a team filled with Power 5 conference transfers — are thought to be contenders for the FCS National Title. They even shellacked South Florida last year, giving McNeese State the distinction of having the largest margin of victory by a FCS school over an FBS team ever. We can also assume that, given a second chance by Armstrong, the 98-yard pick-six would not have happened and Nebraska mostly likely would have taken a 28-7 lead into half time. Even with a shitty 10-10 second half, that’s still a 21-point win. A large enough gap to keep the Huskers from tumbling out of the AP Top 25.

But, alas, the 98-yard pick-six did happen and Nebraska did tumble out of the AP poll. So swallow those caveats like caviar, Huskers. Your performance against McNeese State (particularly in the second half) lands you second fiddle to:

14. Maryland (2-0)

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That’s right. These crab-cake-eating, Old-Bay-dipping, Blair-Witch-chasing Johnnie-come-latelies are the froth atop the Big 10 septic well. Just two weeks into the season and the Rust Belt Conference — home to no less than 4 college football Blue Bloods — has been shown up by a team whose sole purpose is to quell the grid-iron lust of Ravens fans one day prior to when REAL Maryland football gets played.

Congratulations.

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Game Day Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs McNeese State Cowboys

Do the Cowboys have the horses to hang with the Huskers for four quarters? Huskers vs Cowboys
Confidence: HIGH – Then again that could be due in part to still being drunk from last night.  Will be wearing  last week’s shirt with wrinkled and musty pride just as soon as I dig it out from the laundry hamper.

Scouting Report: Not to fear, conspiracy theorists. That sneaky Kenyan Muslim Obama didn’t quietly add a 51st state and name it McNeese after his beloved Oppressive Socialism professor at Harvard.

McNeese State is located in scenic Lake Charles, aka True Detective part of Louisiana, and is basically the UNK of the Louisiana State University system. My friend Amy, a Lake Charles native who coincidentally was on True Detective, says McNeese State is locally known as Ryan Street High- and that’s not a compliment.

Don’t let the ghost town of a Wikipedia page fool you,  the Cowboys do pack a wallop. Apparently they’re the 5th ranked FCS team and absolutely destroyed South Florida 53-21 last season- the largest margin of victory by an FCS team over and FBS team ever.

Ideal Scenario: First and foremost, 9am kickoffs for us West Coasters are for the birds. Here’s to hoping for a nice, mellow game. The sound at the watch site won’t be cranked too loud, the breakfast menu might have a new addition or two, and Imani Cross gets all those carries he missed out on last week and shoulders the load for the Cornhuskers en route to an easy victory. Maybe the refs keep a running clock in the fourth quarter so that everyone can get on with their Saturday asap.

Over/Under on Angry Bo Close Ups: 3 this game could be the last chance we have to see Pelini smile until Purdue steams to Lincoln November 1st.

Then again, Bo could be in Perma-Rage by the time November rolls around.

 

 

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Game 1 Recap: The Huskers give FAU a Hot Carl

The cover was pulled off the 2014 edition of the Nebraska Cornhuskers yesterday and what hid underneath showed all the potential of classic Husker football muscle.

Like a 1970 Firebird being taken out of hibernation, the Huskers had a rough few minutes before blowing out the cobwebs en route to a 55-7 win over FAU.

Between the offensive penalties and FAU seemingly moving the ball at will, there was just enough anxiety early in the first quarter to have fans checking the tightness of their seat belts before the season long roller coaster took its first big plunge.

But the plunge never happened. The Huskers clicked. The gunk was flushed out of the carburetor and the team’s 6.6 liter engine roared to life and left 784 yards of rubber (and a few FAU Owls) on the road.

On the offensive side of the ball, everything that could go right, did go right and on these rarest occasions, it’s only fair that much maligned offensive coordinator Tim Beck gets ALL the credit for what happened on the field.

JORDAN WESTERKAMP CATCH

In the end, this Huskers and Owls matchup had all the suspense of a Firebird vs Gremlin stoplight drag race but it was refreshing to see a season opener to be so much fun for the first time in a long while.

This was one of those signature Nebraska steam rollings from the days of yore that left the peanut gallery grasping at straws for stuff to complain about, allowing confusion and mystery to take center stage.

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A shutout would have been grand, Pyper but remember, these are college kids. It’s not all football all the time. They have to go to school and learn stuff, such as how to spell “them.” Sorry to be a spelling troll but ‘e’ and ‘i’ are nowhere close to each other on a keyboard.

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Yes it was an awesome game, Andrea.

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Amber, the final score (as noted in the third line of the very post on which you commented) was 55-7. Also, just in case the clerk at the Boost Mobile store didn’t give you the full rundown, the device you used to ask your question has the ability to answer virtually any question you may have be it about football or the mysteries of the cosmos.

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Seriously? What the F, Mary? Thanks for the kind words but are you sending someone a secret message via Facebook comment? Southwick… Big Clyde’s adopted son? Are these clues for season 2 of True Detective?

The only real nugget of on-field intrigue came on the final play of the game.

Was Johnny Stanton’s first-ever pass attempt Bo Pelini’s final FAto the team that fired his brother Carl or was it simply a chance to give a third string quarterback the chance to throw the ball on an obvious passing down?

 

 

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Ameer Abdullah Gets Extra Slippery With New Adidas Jersey

Over the weekend the Lincoln Journal Star let Ameer Abdullah’s slippery new secret weapon out of the bag.

Ameer Abdullah addias guacamole jersey

By all accounts Abdullah will be the first running back in college football to wear adidas’ new line of guacamole injected gear. If you thought he could slip through a hole like a greased pig before, wait till you see how he does slathered in $68 worth of guacamole upgrades at Chipotle. How adidas was able to keep such an innovative, technological achievement under wraps until a just a week before game day is some Skunk Works level secrecy.

Or, upon further review, this spy shot could have been recycled from the Gator Bowl against Georgia- a game highlighted by mud, a ridiculous 99 yard bomb, and a hard-fought Husker victory over a worthy SEC opponent or an injury riddled SEC-also-ran, depending on your world view.

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