2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game
|2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan|
|Date||September 1, 2007|
|Location||Ann Arbor, Michigan|
|Favorite||Michigan (no betting line)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Network||Big Ten Network|
|Announcers||Thom Brennaman (play-by-play)
Charles Davis (analyst)
Charissa Thompson (sideline)
The 2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game was a regular season college football game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and Michigan Wolverines. The game was held at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on September 1, 2007, and was the first game of the season for both teams. The Wolverines entered the game ranked No. 5 in both major Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) polls, and media outlets considered them to be preseason favorites to win the Big Ten conference championship as well as possible contenders for the national championship. The Mountaineers entered the game ranked No. 1 in The Sports Network's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) poll, and were preseason favorites to win their third consecutive FCS national championship.
Games between FBS and FCS teams typically result in lopsided victories for the FBS team. The Appalachian State–Michigan game was not expected to be an exception. The predicted outcome was a lopsided victory for Michigan, and Las Vegas sportsbooks did not give a betting line for the game. The game, the first to be broadcast on the Big Ten Network, began with a strong first half for Appalachian State, who held a 28–17 lead at the end of the half. Michigan regained the lead at 32–31 in the fourth quarter, but Appalachian State took the lead for a second time on a short field goal with 26 seconds left in the game. The Mountaineers blocked a game-winning field goal attempt from Michigan at the end of regulation to secure a 34–32 win. The game was immediately hailed as one of the greatest upsets in college football history. Appalachian State became the first FCS team to defeat a ranked FBS team, and as a result of the game Michigan dropped out of the top 25 of the AP Poll entirely, marking the first time a team had fallen from the top five to out of the poll entirely as the result of a single game. In the aftermath of the game, the Associated Press amended their polling policy to make FCS teams eligible for the AP Poll, which had previously been limited to FBS teams.
The Appalachian State Mountaineers finished the 2007 season with a 13–2 record, winning a third consecutive FCS title. They also became the first FCS team to receive votes in the final AP Poll, tying South Florida for the 34th overall ranking. Michigan finished their season 9–4, winning the Capital One Bowl, and ranked No. 18 in the final AP Poll. A rematch of the game is scheduled for the 2014 seasons of both teams, to be played at Michigan Stadium.
- 1 Background
- 2 Pre-game
- 3 Game summary
- 4 Statistical summary
- 5 Aftermath
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Divisions and subdivisions
The NCAA is split into three divisions: Division I, Division II, and Division III. According to the NCAA, Division I consists of "the largest programs that provide the most athletically related financial aid for student-athletes". Division I football is split into two subdivisions: the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). USA Today notes that the FBS is considered the tier at which major Division I universities play, while the FCS is a tier in which smaller programs compete. FBS member teams are allowed to have up to 85 scholarship players, while FCS member teams are allowed to award 63 scholarships. However, FCS teams can divide their 63 scholarships by giving some players 'partial scholarships'. FBS teams vie to play in bowl games, while FCS teams aim to qualify for a postseason tournament. The two subdivisions were created in 1978, and no other Division I sports are split in such a manner. The difference between the two subdivisions is great enough that John V. Lombardi, a former chancellor at UMass, which played FCS football before moving to FBS in 2012, and a former president at FBS-level Florida and Louisiana State, said that "even a crummy team in [FBS] football has higher visibility than a great team in [FCS]."
FBS teams are allowed to schedule FCS teams, and one win against an FCS team can be counted towards their bowl-eligible status provided the FCS team meets certain scholarship requirements. FCS teams are often paid upwards of USD $500,000 for participating in games against FBS teams. This arrangement generally results in lopsided losses for FCS teams, but the money FCS schools earn from games against FBS teams helps fund their athletic departments, in addition to offering broader exposure for their athletic programs.
Appalachian State had routinely scheduled FBS teams. The school had played games against schools such as Louisiana State (2005), Auburn (1999), Kansas (2005), and NC State (2006), in addition to having games against Wake Forest in every season from 1979 to 1996, as well as in 1998, 2000, and 2001. Appalachian State had won six of these games, all of them against Wake Forest. The Mountaineers had not beaten an FBS team since 2000. Michigan, a historic college football power with a large fan base, had never played an FCS team. According to Appalachian State athletic director Charlie Cobb, both schools had gaps in their schedule as late as February 2007; the friendship between Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore and Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr played a key role in completing the deal. While attempting to determine the amount of money Appalachian State would be paid for playing Michigan, negotiations between the two schools reached a halt. Moore went to school officials and urged them to accept any offer Michigan gave them; he recalled telling them that "It's an opportunity game. It'll be a one-shot, once-in-a-lifetime deal to go up there and play. It's an unbelievable environment." Appalachian State ultimately settled on a $400,000 payment in return for playing against Michigan to open the 2007 season.
Michigan was expected to handily defeat Appalachian State, who entered the game as underdogs. Las Vegas sports books did not offer a betting line for the game becaused they believed that it would be a mismatch. The day before the game, an Associated Press article said that the Mountaineers were "almost certain to lose badly" and "aren't expected to be anything more than sacrificial lambs." Another article predicted that Michigan would easily win, but that Michigan's inexperienced secondary could possibly be tested by quarterback Armanti Edwards. This weakness is what the Mountaineers hoped to capitalize on: They spent most of the week leading up to the game studying game film, and felt that the Michigan defense had a tendency to leave the middle of the field defenseless. On the other hand, the Mountaineers lacked the depth of the Wolverines, having 22 fewer scholarship players.
Appalachian State Mountaineers
Appalachian State entered the game as the No. 1 team in the preseason FCS poll from The Sports Network, receiving 67 out of 70 first-place votes. The team had won the previous two FCS national championships and were favorites to win a third consecutive title according to media outlets. They entered the game on a 14-game winning streak, the longest in Division I at the time, and had an overall record of 6–34–1 against major FBS teams. The Mountaineers ran a no-huddle, spread option system, which they implemented in 2005, their first championship season. Two of the major offensive weapons for the team were Edwards, who had scored 15 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns in 2006, and running back Kevin Richardson, who had scored an FCS-record 30 rushing touchdowns in 2006. The Mountaineer defense was led by safety Corey Lynch; the Mountaineer defense ranked 11th in rush defense and 35th in pass defense during the 2006 season, but the team lost five of its six best tacklers from that season, as well as defensive lineman Marques Murrell, who led the FCS in sacks during the 2006 season. Despite losses at the defensive line, the secondary, the team's defensive strong point, remained virtually intact from the previous season. The Mountaineers kicker was senior Julian Raunch, who made 10 out of 14 field goal attempts during the 2006 season.
Michigan entered the game as the No. 5-ranked team in both the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. Media outlets projected the team as favorites to win the Big Ten conference, as well as to contend for a national championship. Michigan featured a strong senior class of offensive tackle Jake Long, tailback Mike Hart, and quarterback Chad Henne, each of whom had decided to stay in school rather than declare eligibility for the NFL Draft. The players attributed their decision to several factors, such as Michigan having lost their last three games to rival Ohio State and the Wolverines' streak of three consecutive bowl losses. The three also desired to finish their college careers on a high note. Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com stated that "[the trio], along with receivers Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington, gives Michigan what could potentially be one of the most explosive offenses in college football". Prior to the season, the team named Hart and Long as captains, in addition to linebacker Shawn Crable, a fifth-year senior. Michigan aimed to open the game in a three-receiver formation, which has the potential to spread the opposing defense out; Michigan coach Lloyd Carr noted that "when you have some of the skill that we have at the wide receiver positions and can spread a defense out, that's [a] positive." At the same time, Michigan was anticipated to hold back on many of their plays when in this set, to limit the ability of their upcoming opponents to develop an effective game plan against them. Michigan's defense, which led the FBS in run defense in 2006, lost seven starters from the previous season, including four All-Americans (cornerback Leon Hall and defensive linemen Alan Branch, David Harris, LaMarr Woodley), each of whom were drafted in the first two rounds of the 2007 NFL Draft. Wolverines linebacker Chris Graham, a senior, expected the defense to be defined by speed, noting that each position on the defense was "loaded in speed".
Broadcast and game notes
The game was the first ever to be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The network had approximately 17 million subscribers at the time, most of which came from a deal with DirecTV. According to Mark Silverman, the president of the Big Ten Network, only a "small percentage" of Wolverine fans were able to watch the game. Silverman attributed this to the fact that Comcast and Charter, two of the major cable television providers in the state of Michigan, did not carry the Big Ten Network. Thom Brennaman provided play-by-play commentary, Charles Davis performed as the color analyst, and Charissa Thompson reported from the sidelines; the game was Thompson's first as a sideline analyst on any network, while Brennaman and Davis were more experienced commentators, having covered high-profile games such as the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and the 2007 BCS National Championship Game.
The weather during the game was clear and sunny. Temperatures were in the mid-70s °F (low-20s °C), with wind heading north at 10–15 miles (16–24 kilometers) per hour. The game was officiated by J. O'Neill. Overall attendance was 109,218. The game kicked off at 12:07 p.m.and ended at 3:40 p.m., having lasted a total of three hours and thirty-seven minutes.
Michigan received the ball first, with Mike Massey returning the Julian Rauch kick to the Michigan 33-yard line. Michigan gained a first down after converting a 3rd and one with a three-yard run by Mike Hart. Chad Henne then completed an 18-yard pass to Massey, followed by a 33-yard rush from Hart, pushing Michigan to the four-yard line of Appalachian State. Hart then ran the ball in for a touchdown, and the ensuing extra point attempt made the score 7–0. Appalachian State's CoCo Hillary took the kickoff to the 26-yard line of the Mountaineers. After the Mountaineers opened with a run for no gain and a six-yard completion, Armanti Edwards completed a 68-yard touchdown pass to Dexter Jackson. The extra point was converted, tying the game at 7–7. The following two drives resulted in three-and-outs for both teams, but after a Mountaineer punt went out of bounds at the Michigan 48-yard line, the Wolverines mounted a ten-play, 52-yard drive culminating in a ten-yard touchdown pass from Henne to Greg Matthews. The extra point gave Michigan a 14–7 lead. Appalachian State started their drive with 3:09 left in the quarter at their own 35-yard line, completing nine plays and driving to the Michigan 36 yard-line before the end of the quarter.
Following the start of the second quarter, Appalachian State ran another six plays, ending the drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass by Edwards to Hans Batichon. The extra point again evened the score, this time at 14–14. Michigan was forced into a three-and-out and had to punt the ball, with Appalachian State starting their next drive at the Michigan 37. On the fifth play of the next drive, the Mountaineers scored a touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Edwards to Jackson. The Mountaineers converted the extra point attempt, giving them the lead at 21–14. Michigan began their drive at their 20-yard line, and drove down to the Appalachian State 40-yard line in four plays. Their next play, a Brandon Minor run for five yards, was followed by a Minor run for no yards and an incomplete pass. The Wolverines opted to go for it on fourth down but failed to convert, turning the ball over to Appalachian State. The following Mountaineer drive featured nine plays, all of them runs, culminating in a six-yard run by Edwards for a touchdown. The extra point was successful, increasing the Mountaineer lead and making the score 28–14. Michigan returned the next kickoff to their 32-yard line, with 2:15 left on the clock. The Wolverines drove to the Appalachian five-yard line, ultimately settling for a field goal with 23 seconds left, cutting Appalachian State's lead to eleven points.
Appalachian State returned the opening kickoff of the second half to their own 36-yard line, but Michigan defender Morgan Trent intercepted an Edwards throw on the second play of the drive. Michigan took possession at the Appalachian State 40-yard line, driving to the 25-yard line before kicking a field goal to decrease the Mountaineer lead to eight points. Appalachian State began play after the kickoff at their own 24-yard line, driving 64 yards in 11 plays and scoring a 31-yard field goal to make the score 31–20 Appalachian State. After the ensuing kickoff, Michigan ran four plays before Minor fumbled the ball on the fifth. The fumble was recovered by Appalachian State defender Pierre Banks at the Michigan 28-yard line. However, Appalachian State failed to get a first down on the ensuing drive, and Raunch missed a 46-yard field goal attempt. Michigan went three-and-out on their next drive and had to punt, but a fumble by Edwards on the following Appalachian State drive was recovered by Michigan defender John Thompson, giving them control of the ball at the Appalachian State 31-yard line. Michigan drove 31 yards over six plays, scoring a touchdown on a four-yard run by Hart. The Wolverines went for a two-point conversion, but failed to convert, making the score 31–26 in favor of Appalachian State. Appalachian State received the kickoff at their own 26-yard line with 19 seconds left in the third quarter, and the quarter ended following a six-yard completion by Edwards to Batichon.
Appalachian State continued their drive but were forced to punt after a three-and-out. Michigan began their drive at the Appalachian State 34-yard line, but a Henne pass was intercepted by Mountaineer defender Leonard Love on the fourth play of the drive. Love returned the ball 26-yards, and Appalachian State began the drive at their own 41-yard line, but were forced to punt after going three-and-out. Michigan got the ball at their own 24-yard line and mounted a nine-play, 43-yard drive to the Appalachian State 33-yard line. On the final play, a fourth and five, Henne's pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over to Appalachian State, who were again forced to punt after a three-and-out. After returning the punt to their own 46-yard line, Hart ran the ball 54 yards for a touchdown, giving Michigan the lead 32–31 with 4:36 left in the game. Michigan chose to go for two, but the conversion attempt failed. Edwards was picked off on the first play of the ensuing drive, giving Michigan control of the ball at the Appalachian State 43-yard line. Michigan ran five plays before attempting a 43-yard field goal. The attempt was blocked, however, giving Appalachian State control of the ball with 1:37 left. With no timeouts left, the Mountaineers drove 69 yards down the field in just over a minute in game time, setting up a Rouch field goal from 24 yards out with 26 seconds left. The attempt was good, giving Appalachian State a 34–32 lead. Michigan regained control of the ball on the ensuing kickoff, and a 46-yard pass from Henne to Mario Manningham gave the Wolverines a 37-yard field goal attempt with six seconds left on the clock. The attempt was blocked by Corey Lynch, securing a 34–32 win by the Mountaineers.
|3rd Down Conversions||7–13||7–15|
|Time of Possession||31:12||28:48|
Appalachian State recorded 227 yards through the air, while Michigan finished with 233 yards. Michigan finished with significantly more rushing yards, recording 246 rushing yards as opposed to the 160 rushing yards gained by Appalachian State. In total, the Wolverines recorded 479 total yards of offense, while Appalachian State recorded 387 total yards. The Wolverines recorded 23 first downs, four more than the Mountaineers, while Appalachian State turned the ball over three times, one more than Michigan. Both teams recorded seven penalties, but Michigan recorded more penalty yards. Appalachian State held the edge in time of possession, holding the ball for 31 minutes and 12 seconds; Michigan held the ball for 28 minutes and 48 seconds.
Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards completed 17 of 23 passes for 227 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions while averaging 9.9 yards per throw. Kevin Richardson led the team in rushing yards, running the ball 24 times for 88 yards, and Edwards was second on the team with 17 rushes for 62 yards and one touchdown. Edwards accounted for all four Mountaineer touchdowns. Dexter Jackson led the team in receiving, catching three passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Michigan quarterback Chad Henne completed 19 of 37 passes for 233 yards, with an average of 6.3 yards per throw; he threw one touchdown and one interception. Mike Hart, who missed almost two quarters due to a thigh injury, led Michigan in rushing, recording 188 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Greg Matthews led the Wolverines in receiving, accounting for 68 yards and one touchdown on seven catches.
Pierre Banks led the Mountaineers in tackles, recording 12 tackles overall. Banks also recorded the only sack of the game for the Mountaineers and recovered a fumble. Corey Lynch finished second with 11 tackles, in addition to blocking a kick. Leonard Love recorded the only interception of the game for the Mountaineers. For Michigan, Shawn Crable led the team with 10 tackles. Crable also forced a fumble and recorded 1.5 sacks. Chris Graham finished with 9 tackles, the second-most on the Wolverines. Brandent Englemon and Morgan Trent each intercepted a pass, while Tim Jamison, Terrance Taylor, and Will Johnson received full or partial credit for sacks.
Appalachian State was unanimously selected as the No. 1 team in the FCS football poll in the week after their victory against Michigan. After several voters in the AP Poll expressed interest in voting for Appalachian State, the AP amended their policy to allow FCS teams to receive votes. The Mountaineers received 19 votes in the week 3 edition of the AP Poll, and 5 votes in the week 4 edition of the AP Poll. The team also extended their winning streak to 17 games before losing to Wofford in week 5. Appalachian State lost to rival Georgia Southern in week 7, dropping them to 5–2 and 2–2 in the Southern Conference (SoCon), which placed them in a poor position to repeat for a third consecutive time as conference champions. However, the Mountaineers won all of their remaining regular season games to finish 9–2, and their 5–2 Southern Conference record was good enough to earn a share of the SoCon conference title with Wofford. After close victories over James Madison (28–27) and Eastern Washington (38–35) in the first two rounds of the FCS playoffs, Appalachian State easily defeated Richmond (55–35) in the semifinals and Delaware (49–21) in the championship game, winning their third consecutive FCS National Championship. They became the first team to win three consecutive FCS titles, and the first Division I football team to win three consecutive titles since Army, who had won three straight titles from 1944 to 1946. At the end of the season, the Mountaineers became the first FCS team to receive votes in the final AP Poll. They received five votes, which placed Appalachian State at a tie for 34th overall with South Florida.
Michigan's loss to Appalachian State effectively ended their chances of winning a national championship. The Wolverines dropped out of the top 25 entirely on the AP Poll the following week, the first time a team had missed the top 25 in the AP Poll the week after they were in the top 10. In their next game, Michigan lost to Oregon 39–7, the largest margin of defeat for Michigan at Michigan Stadium since 1968. Following the loss to Oregon, Michigan won their next eight games, leading the team to rank as high as No. 13 in the AP Poll. After Michigan lost their final two games, ending the regular season with an 8–4 record, they dropped off the poll entirely. After Michigan's season-ending loss to Ohio State, Carr announced he would retire as the team's coach after their bowl game. The Wolverines received an invite to the Capital One Bowl, where they defeated Florida 41–35 to finish their season 9–4. Following their win in the Capital One Bowl, Michigan finished at No. 18 in the final AP Poll.
|Dexter Jackson on the cover of the September 10, 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated|
Thom Brennaman, the game's play-by-play commentator, immediately hailed the game as one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports; sideline reporter Charissa Thompson told coach Jerry Moore that the game was "one of the greatest upsets in college football history." Many media outlets described the game as one of, if not the greatest, upsets in the history of college football. The win marked the first time an FCS team had beaten a ranked FBS program. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports wrote that:
"This game was supposed to be the prime example of what had gone wrong in money hungry college football. The powers that be had expanded the season a couple years back, adding an extra game so big schools could bring in cream-puff opponents while collecting millions in revenue. Michigan had never played a I-AA opponent in its history. Now we know why, the Wolverines were ducking them. Instead of an easy tune-up for Michigan, Appalachian State leaves with its most profound victory ever and a check for $400,000 that was supposed to be their pay for getting punished."
Sports Illustrated writer Stewart Mandel wrote that he felt "utterly unqualified" to put the game into perspective, and said "there's no logical reason whatsoever this should have happened. But it did. And it wasn't the slightest bit fluky." He also expressed disappointment that he would not be able to vote for the Mountaineers in his AP Poll ballot, explaining that "it may well turn out that Michigan was grossly overrated, but all I know is this: There will not be 25 other teams that accomplish more this opening weekend than Appalachian State did Saturday. There won't even be five." Pat Forde of ESPN.com called the game "the most astonishing college football result I can remember," saying that "we'll still be talking about it a few decades from now. Especially in the locker rooms of every huge underdog, where they'll say, 'If Appalachian State can beat Michigan, why can't we shock the world, too?.'" He felt the upset was particularly impressive because upsets of such a magnitude do not happen often in college football. The New York Times writer Viv Bernstein called the game "one of the biggest upsets in college football history" and called it "a stunning upset by any measure." The game was the cover story for the following week's edition of Sports Illustrated; Appalachian State wide receiver Dexter Jackson was featured on the cover, which has the headline "Alltime Upset: Appalachian State Stuns No. 5 Michigan."
In 2012, Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports described the game as "the biggest upset of the past five years of college football", and described it as having "set the table" for an "epically chaotic" 2007 season as well as "four years' worth of headline-making upsets to follow." Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports said in 2012 that "we may never see its likes again." He said that the game "reminded us why the college game is the best," but felt that such a result would become more unlikely in the future, as many conferences are moving to increase to nine conference games, reducing the need to play FCS teams.
Since Appalachian State's victory, two other FCS teams have defeated ranked FBS teams. In 2010, the James Madison Dukes defeated the 13th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies 21–16. In 2013, the Eastern Washington Eagles beat the Oregon State Beavers, who were ranked at number 25 in the polls, 49–46.
Reaction in Boone and on other campuses
Just minutes after the game, students began celebrating on the two main streets in Boone, North Carolina: King Street and River Street. The group eventually advanced to Kidd Brewer Stadium, Appalachian State's home field, and tore down one of the goalposts. The students proceeded to carry the goalpost over a mile before depositing it in the front yard of ASU Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock. He was fine with this, saying "as good as today was for Appalachian State, they can take it up there and put it down. I can't wait to get there and see it." Several students jumped nude into the duck pond behind ASU's dining hall, a campus tradition for celebrating big football victories. When the team returned to their stadium in buses at 11:00 p.m., they were met with a crowd of thousands of students and fans. It took the team 20 minutes to get from their buses to the locker room due to the crowd. The celebration in Boone was not limited to Appalachian State's campus; the Boone Mall was "flooded" with cars after the game, and a sports apparel shop carrying ASU gear, Sports Fanatic, reported that sales were seven times the normal.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, the reaction was far different. Ann Arbor News reported that the Michigan fans who attended the game were "shell-shocked." Appalachian State's win was very popular among fans of Michigan's rivals. Following the end of their own games, fans of Ohio State and Penn State crowded inside their stadiums to watch the conclusion of the game, and they erupted into cheers upon seeing the outcome of the game. The Detroit Free Press reported that the loudest cheers during Michigan State's game that day came when the scoreboard displayed the final score of the Appalachian State vs. Michigan game; to conclude his postgame press conference, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi stated: "And Michigan lost, too." Conversely, Michigan State running back Javon Ringer expressed disappointment at the game's result, saying "I kinda really wanted [Michigan] to be undefeated for us." It was also reported that there was a "roar' in the Ohio State locker room after the players learned of Michigan's loss. Stores near the Ohio State campus in Columbus, Ohio, reported being "swamped" with requests for gear with the Appalachian State logo and colors, and a street vendor set up near the campus of Ohio State received "brisk business" by selling Mountaineers T-shirts. Appalachian State's campus bookstore received a large number of phone calls from people wanting to buy gear, many of them from Ohio, but were unable to sell them in large quantities due to a state law prohibiting university bookstores from selling items to people who are not students, faculty, or alumni.
In 2011, Appalachian State and Michigan agreed to play a rematch of the game to open the 2014 season. Appalachian State will be paid $850,000 to play this game. Michigan's athletic director, Dave Brandon, felt the game would be an excellent way to gain attention for Michigan football and said "The networks were fighting over who gets to televise that game." Jerry Moore said that "To have the University of Michigan invite us back is the ultimate compliment for us as a program and a university. We're grateful for the opportunity to have a new generation of players experience a gameday at the Big House and to test themselves against college football's all-time winningest program." Appalachian State will be playing their first year of football in the FBS in 2014, when they join the Sun Belt Conference as full members.
- 2007 Stanford vs. Southern California football game
- List of historically significant college football games
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Thompson: Coach, one of the greatest upsets in college football history!"
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