Kentucky Wildcats football
|Kentucky Wildcats football|
|Athletic director||Mitch Barnhart|
|Head coach||Mark Stoops
3rd year, 7–17 (.292)
|Home stadium||Commonwealth Stadium (Kentucky)|
|Stadium surface||Bermuda Grass|
|Division||SEC Eastern Division (1992–present)|
|All-time record||587–599–44 (.495)|
|Postseason bowl record||8–6–0 (.571)|
|Claimed national titles||1 (1950)|
Blue and White
|Fight song||On, On, U of K, Kentucky Fight|
Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Kentucky Wildcats football team represents the University of Kentucky in the sport of American football. The Wildcats compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team is currently coached by Mark Stoops.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early history (1892–1945)
- 1.2 Paul "Bear" Bryant era (1946–1953)
- 1.3 Blanton Collier era (1954–1961)
- 1.4 Charlie Bradshaw era (1962–1968)
- 1.5 John Ray era (1969–1972)
- 1.6 Fran Curci era (1973–1981)
- 1.7 Jerry Claiborne era (1982–1989)
- 1.8 Bill Curry era (1990–1996)
- 1.9 Hal Mumme era (1997–2000)
- 1.10 Guy Morriss era (2001–2002)
- 1.11 Rich Brooks era (2003–2009)
- 1.12 Joker Phillips era (2010–2012)
- 1.13 Mark Stoops era (2013–present)
- 2 Bowl games
- 3 Current coaching staff
- 4 Recruiting
- 5 Rivals
- 6 Championships
- 7 All-Americans
- 8 First Team All-SEC
- 9 Players currently in the NFL
- 10 Hall of famers
- 11 Individual award winners
- 12 Future opponents
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Early history (1892–1945)
The greatest UK team of this era was the 1898 squad, known simply to Kentuckians as "The Immortals." To this day, the Immortals remain the only undefeated, untied, and unscored upon team in UK football history. The Immortals were coached by W. R. Bass and ended the year a perfect 7-0-0, despite an average weight of 147 pounds per player. Victories came easily for this squad, as the Immortals raced by Kentucky University (18- 0), Georgetown (28-0), Company H of the 8th Massachusetts (59-0), Louisville Athletic Club (16-0), Centre (6-0), 160th Indiana (17-0) and Newcastle Athletic Club (36-0).
Fred Schacht posted a 15-4-1 record in two seasons but died unexpectedly after his second season. J. White Guyn also had success leading the Wildcats, posting a 17-7-1 record in his three years.
Edwin Sweetland went 16-3 in three seasons (1909-1910 and 1912) but resigned due to poor health. Sweetland also served as Kentucky's first athletics director. John J. Tigert coached Kentucky for two seasons (1915–1916) with each season having one loss. The 1916 team fought Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion Tennessee to a scoreless tie. The year's only a loss, 45 to 0 to Vanderbilt, was the dedication of Stoll Field. Doc Rodes was All-Southern.
Coach Harry Gamage had a 32-25-5 record during his seven seasons from 1927-1933. A.D. Kirwan, who would go on to be the president of the university, coached the Wildcats from 1938-1944 and posted a 24-28-4 record in those six seasons.
Paul "Bear" Bryant era (1946–1953)
Bear Bryant came to Kentucky from Maryland. Under Bryant's tutelage, the Wildcats won the 1947 Great Lakes Bowl, lost the 1950 Orange Bowl, won the 1951 Sugar Bowl and the 1952 Cotton Bowl Classic. In final AP polls, the Wildcats were ranked #11 in 1949, #7 in 1950, #15 in 1951, #20 in 1952 and #16 in 1953. The final 1950 poll was taken prior to the bowl games; Kentucky then defeated undefeated and #1 ranked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, ending the Sooners 31-game winning streak. Bryant won SEC Coach of the Year honors in 1950 and then left after eight seasons to accept the head football coach position at Texas A&M.
Assistant coaches at Kentucky under Bryant that went on to become head coaches include Paul Dietzel, Frank Moseley, Jim Owens and Phil Cutchin. Notable players who played for Bryant at Kentucky include Howard Schnellenberger, Jim Mackenzie, Jerry Claiborne, Steve Meilinger, George Blanda, Vito Parilli, and Bob Gain.
Blanton Collier era (1954–1961)
Cleveland Browns assistant Blanton Collier was hired to replace Bryant as head football coach at Kentucky in late 1953. After completing his first season at Kentucky, Collier was named SEC Coach of the Year after posting a 7-2 record. Collier's assistants during his tenure at Kentucky included the likes of Bill Arnsparger, Chuck Knox, Howard Schnellenberger, and Don Shula.
Despite having a winning record, 41-36-3 in eight seasons, Collier was fired. Collier struggled to recruit for much of his tenure, about which frustrated fans wrote letters of complaint to the university. Collier is the last Kentucky head football coach to leave the Wildcats with a winning record.
Charlie Bradshaw era (1962–1968)
Charlie Bradshaw, an Alabama assistant under Bear Bryant, was hired to replace the fired Collier. Despite all the hype about being a Bear Bryant assistant, Bradshaw's tenure turned out to be a disappointment, as he was unable to have much success with the Wildcats. He had a 25-41-5 record in seven seasons. Bradshaw is the last Kentucky coach to defeat Tennessee twice in Knoxville, and the last Kentucky coach to defeat Auburn twice. He was also the last to defeat a #1 ranked team in the country until Rich Brooks in 2007.
Bradshaw, a harsh, brutal coach, was the head coach of the infamous Thin Thirty Kentucky team. Kentucky had 88 players when Bradshaw arrived, but by season's end, only 30 players were on the team. The story of that team is told in the 2007 book The Thin Thirty by Shannon Ragland. Bradshaw also recruited Nate Northington, the first African American to play in an SEC athletic contest (1967).
John Ray era (1969–1972)
Notre Dame assistant John Ray took over as head football coach in late 1969. Ray's teams consistently had solid defenses, but struggled to produce on the offensive end. Ray's teams failed to win more than three games in a single season, going a dismal 10-33 overall in Ray's four seasons. Ray's contract was not renewed after the 1972 season.
Fran Curci era (1973–1981)
Kentucky hired Fran Curci away from Miami after Ray was let go. The 1976 Wildcats claimed a share of the Southeastern Conference championship under coach Fran Curci and won the Peach Bowl, finishing #18 in the final AP poll. The 1977 Kentucky team went 10-1 and was undefeated in SEC play but, despite finishing the season ranked #6 in the AP poll, did not play in a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions. Kentucky finished at #6 and Penn State at #5 despite the fact that Kentucky defeated Penn State at Penn State during the regular season. Curci was unable to have sustained success as head coach of the Wildcats and was fired after nine seasons.
Jerry Claiborne era (1982–1989)
Coach Jerry Claiborne returned to his alma mater from Maryland. He led the Wildcats to the 1983 Hall of Fame Bowl and the 1984 Hall of Fame Bowl, defeating a Wisconsin team ranked #20 in the polls to finish the season with a 9-3 record and a #19 ranking in the final AP and UPI polls. Claiborne also won SEC Coach of the Year honors in 1983. The E.J. Nutter Training Facility was built in 1987. Coach Claiborne and Kentucky experienced an era of constant change at the quarterback position following the 1987 season through his departure that included the likes of Craig Nelson, Eric Mellon, and High School All-American and two way starter (Quarterback/Safety) Ricky Lewis, prior to landing Mr. Kentucky Football Awardee Pookie Jones of Calloway County. Claiborne retired following the 1989 season and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1999. He is the last coach to defeat Florida and was the last coach to defeat Tennessee until Joker Phillips in 2011. His final record at Kentucky is 41-46-3.
Bill Curry era (1990–1996)
Bill Curry surprised the college football world by leaving Alabama for Kentucky in late 1989. Despite the high hopes that the Kentucky football program would rise under his leadership, Curry's Wildcats teams never achieved much success. The Wildcats best season under Curry was 1992, playing in the 1993 Peach Bowl. Curry was asked to resign after seven seasons and just a .33 winning percentage. Curry's record at Kentucky was 26-52.
Hal Mumme era (1997–2000)
Coach Hal Mumme came to Kentucky from Valdosta State and brought an exciting, high-scoring, pass-oriented offense known as the "Air Raid". He led the Wildcats to the 1998 Outback Bowl and the 1999 Music City Bowl. Mumme achieved a 20-26 record in his four seasons. Mumme coached star quarterback Tim Couch, the top overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft. He was popular among the Kentucky fans, but the program was hit with severe sanctions for NCAA violations involving cash payments from an assistant coach to prospective recruits. Although Mumme himself was not implicated in any violation, he resigned after the 2000 season. Assistant coaches under Mumme at Kentucky included Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes.
Guy Morriss era (2001–2002)
Guy Morriss was promoted from offensive line coach to head coach of the Wildcats after Mumme's resignation. Under coach Morriss, the Wildcats went 2-9 in 2001 but improved to a 7-5 record in 2002. However, the Wildcats were not eligible for postseason play in 2002 due to NCAA sanctions from Mumme's tenure. The most significant event of that season came in a loss to LSU (See: Bluegrass Miracle). Morriss accepted an offer to become the head football coach at Baylor after the 2002 season.
Rich Brooks era (2003–2009)
The team's next head coach was former Oregon head coach Rich Brooks, who was hired in December 2002. He led the team out of the probationary years to an 8-5 regular season record in 2006, including a memorable upset over the defending SEC champion Georgia, snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. Brooks also led the football team to its first bowl game since 1999 and its first bowl game victory since 1984, as Kentucky defeated the Clemson University Tigers 28-20 in the Music City Bowl. In 2007, the Wildcats were ranked 8th in the nation before a loss to South Carolina on October 4. After the loss to South Carolina, Kentucky bounced back on October 13 to defeat #1 LSU in a historic triple overtime game.
Brooks took Kentucky to four consecutive bowl games, winning the first three. The 2007 Kentucky Wildcats football defeated the Florida State Seminoles 35-28 in the 2007 Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, on December 31, 2007. Quarterback Andre' Woodson was named the Music City Bowl MVP for the second year in a row. In 2008 the Wildcats opted to go to the Liberty Bowl instead of the Music City Bowl and defeated Conference USA champion East Caroina 25-19. In 2009, Brooks and Kentucky returned to the Music City Bowl, losing in a rematch to Clemson 21-13. Brooks retired after seven seasons with a 39-47 overall record.
Joker Phillips era (2010–2012)
Former Wildcat wide receiver and longtime assistant coach and associate head coach Joker Phillips was formally named head coach January 6, 2010 after Brooks' retirement. Kentucky started off strong under Phillips with a win on the road against arch rival Louisville. The 2010 squad snapped a long-standing losing streak to South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier by defeating the Gamecocks at Commonwealth Stadium. However, they dropped games to both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, lost to a Florida team on a down year and once again failed to beat its other arch rival Tennessee, having lost 26 in a row to the Vols, the longest losing streak by one team to another in college football. The Wildcats capped the season with a 27-10 loss to Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
On November 26, 2011, Kentucky snapped the longest active FBS losing streak to any one team by defeating the Tennessee Vols 10-7 at Commonwealth Stadium.
On November 4, 2012, the day after a 0-40 home shutout by Vanderbilt resulting with a 1-9 record, UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart released a public letter to Big Blue Nation announcing that Joker would not be returning as the head coach of the Kentucky football team following the 2012 season, but that he would finish out the season as head coach. With Joker's 5-year contract only being 3 years complete at the end of the season, the University has to pay $2.55 Million over the final 2 years of the contract.
Mark Stoops era (2013–present)
Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops was hired as Kentucky's head football coach in late 2012. One of Stoops' first moves was hiring offensive coordinator Neal Brown, who brought back the "Air Raid" offense. After nine months as the head coach of the Wildcats, Stoops and staff signed the highest ranked recruiting class in program history.
In Stoops' second season, the Wildcats broke a 17-game SEC losing streak when they beat Vanderbilt the fourth game into the season. The Wildcats finished the 2014 season with a 5–7 record. After the season, offensive coordinator Neal Brown left to take the head coaching job at Troy.
UK has played in 15 bowl games, compiling a record of 8-7. Note that in the table below, the year references the season, and not the actual date the game was played.
Current coaching staff
|Mark Stoops||Head Coach|
|Shannon Dawson||Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach|
|D.J. Eliot||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach|
|Vince Marrow||Tight Ends Coach|
|Dan Berezowitz||Recruiting Coordinator|
|Evan Browne||Assistant Recruiting Coordinator|
|Chad Scott||Running Backs Coach|
|Tommy Mainord||Wide Receivers Coach/Passing Game Coordinator|
|John Schlarman||Offensive Line Coach|
|Jimmy Brumbaugh||Defensive Line Coach|
|Andy Buh||Safeties Coach/Special Teams Coordinator|
Kentucky Wildcats Football Scout.com team recruiting rankings:
First played in 1912, Louisville-Kentucky football series was revived in 1994 after the success of the basketball series that restarted in 1983. They played all games at Commonwealth Stadium until Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (PJCS) was completed in 1997, at which time they began rotating the series between Louisville, Kentucky and Lexington, Kentucky. The all-time series is led by Kentucky 14-13. Kentucky played Louisville in their first 4 seasons and twice in the 1920s, holding the Cardinals scoreless in all contests. Kentucky then left the SIAA in 1922 and joined the Southeastern Conference and limited its play of in-state schools. It would be 70 years before these two in-state rivals faced each other again.
In 2013, it was announced that the game would be moved to the final game of the season following Louisville's 2014 move to the ACC. This scheduling change fits with other end-of-year SEC vs. ACC rivalry games, such as Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Florida vs. Florida State and South Carolina vs. Clemson.
Tennessee and Kentucky have played each other 108 times over 114 years with Tennessee winning 75 games to 24 wins by Kentucky (.736). Tennessee has won the most games in Lexington, Kentucky with 35 wins to 14 by Kentucky (.702). Tennessee also has more wins than Kentucky in Knoxville, Tennessee with 45 wins to 10 (.787). Tennessee has the most wins in the series at Stoll Field with 19 wins to 11 Kentucky wins (.621). The Series is tied at 3 a piece at Baldwin Park. Tennessee leads the series at Neyland Stadium with 35 wins to 7 Kentucky wins (.792). Tennessee leads the series at Commonwealth Stadium with 17 wins to 3 Kentucky wins (.850). Like many college football rivalries, the Tennessee-Kentucky game had its own trophy for many years: a wooden beer barrel painted half blue and half orange. The trophy was awarded to the winner of the game every year from 1925 to 1997. The Barrel was introduced in 1925 by a group of former Kentucky students who wanted to create a material sign of supremacy for the rivalry. It was rolled onto the field that year with the words "Ice Water" painted on it to avoid any outcries over a beer keg symbolizing a college rivalry.
The barrel exchange was retired in 1998 after two Kentucky football players died in an alcohol-related crash.
More known for its basketball rivalry, the Indiana-Kentucky series was played annually from 1987 until 2005 in what was known as the "Battle for the Bourbon Barrel" game. The series rotated between Bloomington, Indiana and Lexington, Kentucky and the two teams played for a trophy called the "Bourbon Barrel" from 1987 until both schools mutually agreed to retire the trophy in 1999 following the alcohol-related death of two Kentucky football players. Indiana leads the series (18-17-1). The two haven't played since 2005.
Having started in 1896, the Kentucky-Vanderbilt football series has been played annually since 1953. The two are divisional opponents in the SEC East. The series, which rotates between Nashville, Tennessee and Lexington, Kentucky, stands at 41-41-4 with the average score being Vanderbilt 17-Kentucky 15.6.
The Mississippi State-Kentucky series became a rivalry when the SEC assigned cross-divisional opponents. The Bulldogs (of the SEC West) and Wildcats (of the SEC East) were assigned to each other. They play every year. The all-time series is tied 21-21, which rotates between Lexington, Kentucky and Starkville, Mississippi. Mississippi State has won 7 of their last 8 vs. Kentucky.
Prior to the advent of the BCS in 1998, national champions were primarily chosen by a combination of national ranking systems and nation media poll rankings. During the last 142 years, there have been more than 30 selectors of national champions using polls, historical research and mathematical rating systems. Beginning in 1936, The Associated Press began the best-known and most widely circulated poll of sportswriters and broadcasters. Before 1936, national champions were determined by historical research and retroactive ratings and polls. It is important to remember that from 1936-1964, the Associated Press chose a "national champion" prior to bowl games.
In 1950, the Sagarin poll didn't exist. The Sagarin computer model was used retroactively to review football teams and the Sagarin computer model determined that the 1950 UK team could be the number 1 team. However, no one in 1950 considered UK the National Champions. UK does not have a National Championship trophy, banner or any other items signifying that they were National Champions in football in 1950. The National Champions in college football in 1950 were Oklahoma (AP, Berryman, Helms, Litkenhous, UPI, Williamson), Princeton (Boand, Poling), and Tennessee (Billingsley, DeVold, Dunkel, Missouri,Don Faurot Football Research, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)). Tennessee was the 1950 consensus national champion, winner of the Cotton Bowl and the only team to beat Kentucky during the 1950 season. Oklahoma was named National Champion by AP and UPI Coaches' Poll, both which awarded their titles before the bowl games. Kentucky would go on to beat Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl 
|Season||Conference||Coach||Overall Record||Conference Record|
|1950||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11-1||5-1|
† Mississippi State forfeited their 1976 win over Kentucky, giving Kentucky an official 5-1 conference record and a share of the SEC title with Georgia.
- Kentucky also finished the 1977 season with a 10-1 record (6-0 SEC), but were not eligible for a share of the SEC championship or for postseason play due to NCAA probation.
|Bob Gain||T||1949||No||No||All-Players, NY Sun, NEA|
|Bob Gain||T||1950||Yes||Yes||AP, UPI, INS, Camp, NEA, CP, FWAA-Look, AAB, FD, NYNews|
|Babe Parilli||QB||1950||Yes||Yes||AP, INS, Camp, Colliers, NY News, Sporting News, AA|
|Babe Parilli||QB||1951||Yes||Yes||UP, INS, Camp, NEA, CP, AAB, NY News, All-Player|
|Doug Moseley||C||1951||No||No||AP, FWAA-Look|
|Steve Meilinger||DE||1952||No||No||AP, NEA, All-Player|
|Steve Meilinger||DE||1953||No||No||NEA, Colliers, AAB|
|Ray Correll||DG||1953||No||No||FWAA-Look, Chicago Tribun|
|Lou Michaels||OT||1956||No||Yes||UPI, NA, Camp, Colliers,NY News|
|Lou Michaels||OT||1957||No||Yes||AP, NEA, Camp, FWAA-Look, Coaches, NY News, Sporting News|
|Sam Ball||T||1965||No||Yes||UPI, NEA, Camp, FWAA-Look, Coaches, Time, Sporting New|
|Rodger Bird||HB||1965||No||No||Time, NBC|
|Rick Norton||QB||1965||No||No||Time, NBC|
|Warrant Bryant||T||1976||No||No||Camp, Coaches|
|Art Still||DE||1977||No||Yes||AP, UPI, NEA, Coaches, FWAA, Camp, Sporting News, Football News|
|Mike Pfeifer||T||1989||No||No||Football News, Mizlou|
|Tim Couch||QB||1998||No||No||Camp, FWAA, AAF|
|James Whalen||TE||1999||No||Yes||AP, Camp, FWAA, AAFF, CNN/SI, CBS SportsLine|
|Derek Abney||KR||2002||Yes||Yes||AP, FWAA, Camp, Sporting News, ESPN, CBS SportsLine, CNN/SI, College Football News|
|Glenn Pakulak||P||2002||No||No||CBS SportsLine|
First Team All-SEC
|1983||Duece Howerton||Running Back|
|1994||Melvin Johnson||Free Safety|
|1995||Moe Williams||Half Back|
|1997||John Schlarman||Offensive Guard|
|1998||Kris Comstock||Offensive Guard|
|1998||Craig Yeast||Wide Receiver|
|1999||James Whalen||Tight End|
|2000||Derek Smith||Tight End|
|2000||Omar Smith||Offensive Tackle|
|2001||Derek Abney||Kick Returner|
|2001||Dennis Johnson||Defensive End|
|2002||Derek Abney||Kick Returner|
|2002||Antonio Hall||Offensive Tackle|
|2002||Artose Pinner||Running Back|
|2003||Derek Abney||Kick Returner|
|2003||Antonio Hall||Offensive Tackle|
|2006||Jacob Tamme||Tight End|
|2007||Jacob Tamme||Tight End|
|2008||Trevard Lindley||Defensive Back|
|2014||Alvin Dupree||Defensive End|
Players currently in the NFL
|Pos.||Name||Height||Weight||Hometown||Draft Year||Rd.||Overall||Current NFL Team|
|WR||Randall Cobb||5'11"||190 lbs.||Alcoa, TN||2011||2||64th||Green Bay|
|FB||John Conner||5'11"||246 lbs.||West Chester, OH||2010||5||139th||New York|
|LB||Bud Dupree||6'4"||270 lbs.||Irwinton, GA||2015||1||22nd||Pittsburgh|
|WR||Steve Johnson||6'3"||210 lbs.||San Francisco, CA||2008||7||229th||San Diego|
|DT||Ricky Lumpkin||6'4"||306 lbs.||Louisville, KY||2011||UD||–||Oakland|
|K/P||Tim Masthay||6'2"||198 lbs.||Murray, KY||2009||UD||–||Green Bay|
|WR||Chris Matthews||6'5"||218 lbs.||Los Angeles, CA||2011||UD||–||Seattle|
|DT||Corey Peters||6'3"||295 lbs.||Louisville, KY||2010||3||83rd||Atlanta|
|RB||Alfonso Smith||6'1"||209 lbs.||Louisville, KY||2010||UD||–||San Francisco|
|DE||Za'Darius Smith||6'6"||265 lbs.||Greenville, AL||2015||4||122nd||Baltimore|
|TE||Jacob Tamme||6'4"||220 lbs.||Danville, KY||2008||4||127th||Denver|
|LB||Danny Trevathan||6'1"||235 lbs.||Leesburg, FL||2012||6||188th||Denver|
|OG||Larry Warford||6'3"||332 lbs.||Richmond, KY||2013||3||65th||Detroit|
|OT||Garry Williams||6'3"||320 lbs.||Louisville, KY||2008||UD||–||Carolina|
|LB||Avery Williamson||6'1"||238 lbs.||Milan, TN||2014||5||151st||Tennessee|
|LB||Wesley Woodyard||6'1"||230 lbs.||LaGrange, GA||2008||UD||–||Tennessee|
Hall of famers
|1981||Chicago Bears, 1949, 1950-58
Baltimore Colts, 1950
Houston Oilers, 1960–66
Oakland Raiders, 1967–75
|Dermontti Dawson||Center||2012||Pittsburgh Steelers, 1988-2000|
|Paul "Bear" Bryant||Head Coach||1986||1946-53|
|Jerry Claiborne||Head Coach||1999||1982-89|
|Steve Meilinger||Defensive Line||2013||1951-53|
Individual award winners
- Bob Gain - 1950
University of Kentucky 100th Anniversary Team
Chosen in 1990 by Kentucky Newspapers
- #21: Calvin Bird
- #22: Mark Higgs
SEC West opponents
Kentucky plays Mississippi State as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the West division among the other six schools.
|Year||Alabama||Auburn||Arkansas||LSU||Mississippi State||Ole Miss||Texas A&M|
|vs Southern Miss||at Southern Miss|
|vs Austin Peay|
|at Louisville||vs Louisville||at Louisville||vs Louisville|
|September 3||Southern Miss*||Commonwealth Stadium • Lexington, KY|
|November 19||Austin Peay*||Commonwealth Stadium • Lexington, KY|
|November 26||at Louisville*||Papa John's Cardinal Stadium • Louisville, KY (Governor's Cup)|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.|
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