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No. 5 WVU drops from ranks of undefeated

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No. 5 WVU drops from ranks of undefeated

West Virginia came into Saturday's game at Texas Tech in the drivers' seat for the Big 12 title, undefeated and eyeing a shot at the BCS championship and with quarterback Geno Smith acclaimed as a Heisman Trophy front-runner.

The No. 5 Mountaineers left with none of it following a 49-14 loss to the Red Raiders that was the most lopsided Texas Tech victory over a team ranked in the top five.

Texas Tech's defense consistently stymied West Virginia's offense. Heisman Trophy hopeful Smith completed 29 of 55 passes for 275 yards, well off his season averages of nearly 400 yards and a 81 percent completion rate.

The Red Raiders offense had no trouble moving the ball as quarterback Seth Doege threw TD passes of 39, 19, 16, 2, 29 and 7 yards. He completed 32 of 42 passes and the six touchdowns matched his career-high. Darrin Moore caught three touchdown passes.

Earlier, Oklahoma clobbered Texas 63-21 to get a leg up in the Big 12 race, and only benefited from West Virginia being brought back to the pack. Kansas State (6-0, 3-0) is the only undefeated team left in the conference, but next Saturday faces what should be a motivated West Virginia team, followed the next week b by Texas Tech, which is also 2-1 in the league

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No. 1 ALABAMA 42, MISSOURI 10

Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon gave top-ranked Alabama a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game for the first time this season and the duo combined for five scores in a soggy, weather-delayed game.

The defending national champion Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC) led 21-0 late in the first quarter en route to their 10th straight victory, all by 19 or more points.

They did just enough right after that to disappoint the few thousand fans who didn't leave for good during a 38-minute delay due to lightning with the Crimson Tide awaiting the extra-point kick for a 28-0 cushion after Yeldon's second scoring run with 8:40 to go in the half.

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No. 8 OHIO STATE 52, INDIANA 49

Braxton Miller scored on a 67-yard touchdown run, threw TD passes of 60 and 46 yards and produced his third straight 100-yard rushing game to help the Buckeyes escape.

The victory makes the Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) the first ranked team with seven wins.

Indiana (2-4, 0-3) has now lost 21 straight conference games to teams from outside the state and 18 straight to the Buckeyes since 1988, including the game Ohio State won two years ago but later vacated as part of an NCAA penalty.

This one sure wasn't easy.

But Miller had all the answers - scoring on his 67-yard run on the next offensive play after Indiana trimmed the deficit to 24-17, leading the Buckeyes on back-to-back drives of 75 and 78 drives and throwing a 46-yard TD pass to break open the game late.

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No. 9 LSU 23, No. 3 SOUTH CAROLINA 21

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU freshman Jeremy Hill announced his arrival as a big-time running back with tackle-breaking power and breakaway speed on a 50-yard scoring run that was too much for South Carolina to overcome.

Hills finished with 124 yards and two touchdowns in his breakout performance, and the ninth-ranked Tigers handed No. 3 South Carolina its first loss of the season.

LSU (6-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) substantially outgained South Carolina (6-1, 4-1) 406 yards to 211, but struggled to find the end zone. Three times, LSU settled for field goals after driving at least as far as the Gamecocks 5-yard line, and another drive to the South Carolina 15 stalled on a missed field goal.

But Hill's long score with 5:03 left gave LSU a nine-point lead that proved to be just enough cushion for the Tigers.

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No. 4 FLORIDA 31, VANDERBILT 17

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The fourth-ranked Florida Gators remain perfect thanks to quarterback Jeff Driskel running the ball better than even Tim Tebow.

Driskel ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns, and the Gators remained undefeated going into their big showdown with No. 3 South Carolina.

The quarterback threw for only 77 yards and ran only 11 times. But the sophomore set the Florida record for yards rushing by a quarterback, topping Tebow's 166 yards against Mississippi in 2007 on 27 carries.

The Gators (6-0, 5-0 SEC) finished off their last SEC road trip outside of the state of Florida with their 22nd straight win over Vanderbilt. Florida, which rallied in the second half to beat Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU already this season, took control early this time. The Gators scored 21 straight points, including 11 in the second quarter where they took the lead for good.

Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-3) now has lost 47 straight against Top Five teams.

The Gators also had three sacks, forced a turnover, blocked a field goal and used a fake punt to put away Vanderbilt. Caleb Sturgis kicked three field goals.

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TEXAS TECH 49, No. 5 WEST VIRGINIA 14

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Seth Doege passed for six touchdowns and a season-high 499 yards as Texas Tech shocked No. 5 West Virginia 49-14, ending the Mountaineers' hopes for an unbeaten season.

The Red Raiders fans stormed the field after the win, the most lopsided Texas Tech victory ever over a team ranked in the top five.

Texas Tech's defense consistently stymied West Virginia's offense. Heisman Trophy hopeful Geno Smith completed 29 of 55 passes for 275 yards.

The Red Raiders offense had no trouble moving the ball as Doege threw TD passes of 39, 19, 16, 2, 29 and 7 yards. He completed 32 of 42 passes and the six touchdowns matched his career-high. Darrin Moore caught three touchdown passes.

Texas Tech (5-1, 2-1) had 18 plays of 15 yards or more, including a 61-yard pass to Jace Amaro and a 53-yard touchdown run by SaDale Foster.

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No. 6 KANSAS STATE 27, IOWA STATE 21

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Quarterback Collin Klein ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns to help K-State hold off the Cyclones and beat them for the fifth straight time.

Klein also threw for 187 yards for the Wildcats (6-0, 3-0 Big 12), who remain unbeaten heading into next week's showdown with West Virginia.

Kansas State held the Cyclones (4-2, 1-2) to just 231 yards of offense. Iowa State still had a chance for the game-winning drive from its own 3-yard line with 2:17 left, but the Wildcats stopped the Cyclones on downs.

The Wildcats held the ball for nearly 41 minutes and converted eight of 17 third downs.

Jared Barnett threw for 166 yards and two TDs for Iowa State.

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No. 7 NOTRE DAME 20, No. 17 STANFORD 13, OT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - TJ Jones made a reaching 7-yard touchdown catch in overtime and No. 7 Notre Dame stopped Stanford inches from the goal line.

After Jones and Tommy Rees gave the Fighting Irish (6-0) a seven-point lead in OT, Stanford (4-2) drove to a first-and-goal at the 4.

Stepfan Taylor ran for 1 on first, 2 on second and inches on third down. That left one play from inside the 1 and the Notre Dame defense, led by Carlos Calabrese, stood up Taylor and pushed him back.

Taylor kept reaching and turning, and ended up reaching the ball across the goal line, but the officials ruled it was too late. The play had been stopped.

The celebration had to wait for a replay review. It was close, but the call stood. The fans completed storming the field, and the national title hopes in South Bend remained alive.

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No. 10 OREGON STATE 42, BYU 24

PROVO, Utah (AP) - Cody Vaz passed for 332 yards and three touchdowns in his first start since high school.

Vaz was filling in for Sean Mannion, who is out indefinitely with a left knee injury.

Oregon State is 5-0 for the first time since 1939.

Markus Wheaton caught two first-quarter TD passes, and scored on a 12-yard reverse in the fourth, while cornerback Jordan Poyer returned an interception 49 yards to seal the victory against BYU (4-3).

Vaz started 5 of 5 for 75 yards and finished 20 of 32 against BYU's fifth-rated defense.

BYU quarterback Riley Nelson completed 28 of 51 passes for 305 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times.

Oregon State rolled up 450 yards offense.

Brandin Cooks caught eight passes for 173 yards for the Beavers.

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No. 11 SOUTHERN CAL 24, WASHINGTON 14

SEATTLE (AP) - Anthony Brown blocked a punt and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, Jawanza Starling forced a key fumble, and USC overcame an inconsistent offense in.

Silas Redd rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown in the first half and Matt Barkley added an 18-yard TD pass to Xavier Grimble as the Trojans continued rebuilding their resume following last month's loss to Stanford that appeared to end their national championship hopes.

The Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) were held scoreless in the second half and got needed help from a defense that sacked Price five times and forced four turnovers to give USC its third straight win.

Barkley finished 10 of 20 for 167 yards, while Redd had 155 yards on 26 carries, his second-best game since transferring from Penn State. Curtis McNeal added another 58 yards on 11 attempts as the Trojans finished with 204 yards on the ground. The 10 completions for Barkley were his fewest since 2010 at Oregon State when he hit just 10 of 19 passes.

This was USC's first trip north to Seattle since 2009, when the Trojans were upset by the Huskies across town at Husky Stadium in coach Steve Sarkisian's first year of rebuilding at Washington.

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No. 13 OKLAHOMA 63, No. 15 TEXAS 21

DALLAS (AP) - Damien Williams broke off a 95-yard touchdown run for the longest rush in Red River Rivalry history, Blake Bell powered his way in for four TDs and Oklahoma got its second straight blowout of Texas.

Landry Jones threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns, and fullback Trey Millard had a career-best 119 yards receiving as the Sooners (4-1, 2-1 Big 12) added another rout to Bob Stoops' impressive rivalry resume.

Stoops is now 9-5 against Mack Brown and responsible for three of Oklahoma's five most lopsided wins over Texas - and that doesn't include last year's 55-17 clobbering.

The Longhorns (3-2, 1-2) couldn't get a stop and never got their offense going, then lost quarterback David Ash to an apparent left wrist injury in the fourth quarter.

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No. 18 LOUISVILLE 45, PITTSBURGH 35

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Senorise Perry rushed for 101 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.

Teddy Bridgewater passed for 304 yards for the Cardinals (6-0, 1-0 Big East), including a 75-yard score to Devante Parker on the first play of the second half as Louisville continued its best start since 2006.

Parker's score came in the middle of a 24-point burst by Louisville spanning the second and third quarters that turned a seven-point deficit into a 38-21 lead.

Tino Sunseri passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns but Pitt (2-4, 0-3) couldn't complete a late rally.

Trailing by 10 with 5 minutes to play, Pitt went for it on fourth down deep in Louisville territory rather than attempt a field goal. Sunseri's pass was off the mark and Perry finished off the Panthers with a 59-yard sprint down the left sideline.

Louisville began the season as the overwhelming Big East favorite but some of the shine was stripped away by sluggish road wins at overmatched Florida International and Southern Mississippi coupled with the impressive starts by No. 20 Rutgers and No. 21 Cincinnati.

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No. 19 MISSISSIPPI STATE 41, TENNESSEE 31

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Tyler Russell threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns, LaDarius Perkins added 101 rushing yards and a touchdown and Mississippi State beat Tennessee.

Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) continues its best start since 1999. The Bulldogs led 27-14 at halftime, but the Volunteers rallied to cut the margin to 34-31 by midway through the fourth quarter.

Russell sealed the victory with a 9-yard pass to Malcolm Johnson with nine seconds remaining. The junior quarterback completed 23 of 37 passes and set career highs in completions, attempts and passing yards.

Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Volunteers (3-3, 0-3) have lost all three games to ranked opponents.

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No. 20 RUTGERS 23, SYRACUSE 15

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Duron Harmon scooped up a blocked field goal attempt and ran 75 yard for a tie-breaking touchdown early in the third quarter and Rutgers rode its defense and special teams to 6-0.

Big East Conference defensive player of the year Khaseem Greene forced three fumbles and intercepted a pass as Rutgers (3-0) became bowl eligible for the seventh time in eight seasons.

Jawan Jamison scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, Gary Nova threw a 12-yard touchdown to Tyler Kroft and walk-on placekicker Nick Borgese had a 25-yard field goal filling in for the injured Kyle Federico as the Scarlet Knights went 6-0 for only the third time since 1976.

Adonis Ameen-Moore scored on a 3-yard run and Ryan Nassib threw a late 40-yard touchdown pass to Christopher Clark and a 2-point conversion pass to Marcus Sales pass for Syracuse (2-4, 1-1).

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No. 21 CINCINNATI 49, FORDHAM 17

CINCINNATI (AP) - Deven Drane scooted 76 yards for a touchdown after picking up a fumble and Munchie Legaux threw two TD passes, including a 78-yarder to Travis Kelce.

The Bearcats (5-0) stayed perfect but the Rams (4-3), playing up a level from the Football Championship Subdivision, hung around for a half. The win was Cincinnati's 24th straight in nonconference games at Nippert Stadium and upped its overall winning streak to eight in a row.

After a sloppy first two quarters, the Bearcats came alive on offense. Legaux, Ralph David Abernathy IV and Jordan Luallen scored on runs to start the third quarter and the rout was on.

Fordham was a late fill-in for TCU, which reneged on its commitment to join the Big East this summer and instead joined the Big 12. That left the Bearcats with a hole in their schedule that the Patriot League team filled.

Patrick Murray kicked three field goals, including a school-record 55-yarder for the Rams. Ryan Higgins completed 31 of 42 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown - a 12-yarder to Brian Wetzel - with no interceptions.

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No. 22 TEXAS A&M 59, No. 23 LOUISIANA TECH 57

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Johnny Manziel accounted for six touchdowns, including two to fend off a late rally, and No. 22 Texas A&M held on for a 59-57 win over 23rd-ranked Louisiana Tech to hand the Bulldogs their first loss.

Texas A&M (5-1) won its fifth straight game and improved to 11-0 all-time against Louisiana Tech (5-1) in a game that was originally supposed to be played on Aug. 30, but was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac.

Louisiana Tech trailed by 27 points early before mounting a furious second half rally attempt capped by a 13-yard touchdown reception by Ray Holley to cut the lead to two points with 38 seconds left. But Colby Cameron's throw fell incomplete and the Aggies had the win.

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No. 24 BOISE ST. 20, FRESNO ST. 10

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - D.J. Harper rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown and Joe Southwick threw for another score.

Harper was the leader of a Boise State (5-1, 2-0 Mountain West) rushing attack that chewed up 215 yards on the ground and propelled the Broncos to their fifth consecutive win and seventh straight over the Bulldogs.

The Boise State defense also turned in another impressive performance.

The Broncos held Fresno State (4-3, 2-1) scoreless in the first half, the fourth straight game the Broncos defense has held foes scoreless in the first two quarters. The defense also squelched a Bulldog scoring drive in the opening minutes of the third quarter with an interception, forced a fumble on another possession late and held Robbie Rouse to 77 yards rushing on 25 carries.

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No. 25 MICHIGAN 45, ILLINOIS 0

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Denard Robinson threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores, brushing off an undisclosed injury as well as the Illini.

The Wolverines (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten) got a scare when Robinson left the game late in the first quarter. He missed just one-plus possessions, though, and returned to score on a 6-yard run to put Michigan up 17-0 late in the first half.

Robinson, who wouldn't elaborate on the injury after the game, ran for a 49-yard score - giving him 10,000-plus career yards of offense - on the Wolverines' first drive of the second half and tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Devin Funchess on their next possession to make it 31-0.

The Fighting Illini (2-5, 0-3) lost their starting quarterback, Nathan Scheelhaase, because of an undisclosed injury in the second quarter.

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Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Need to Know: Redskins QB Alex Smith understands that expectations will be high immediately

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 20, 36 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Emptying the notebook from the offseason practices

—Last week I wrote that Gruden expects Alex Smith to be ready to win in Week 1. Smith understands those expectations and plans to meet them. “No, I don’t think you can rely on the fact that, ‘Oh, it’s the first year here.’ Nobody cares,” he said when asked about his transition into the new offense. “It’s not like in the fall, you guys are going to be like, ‘Ah, well, this is his first year here. We’ll give him a break.’ It just doesn’t work that way.” Of course, Smith is right. If the Redskins are 1-3 in October, nobody is going to cut them any slack if their veteran quarterback who got a contract with $71 million guaranteed is struggling with the new offense. 

—I didn’t count reps during the practices that were open to the media, but it seemed that they were giving DL Jonathan Allen a light workload. “I think he did a great job of rehabbing in the offseason,” said defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. “We were kind of a little bit hesitant early on when he was here just taking reps and stuff but looks like he’s just keeps on progressing from where he kind of left off last year and the sky’s the limit for him.” The Redskins essentially will be adding two first-round picks to their D-line with Allen’s return and the addition of Daron Payne in the first round this year. I would look for Allen to get a full workload when the training camp starts. 

—There are questions about Kevin Hogan making the 53-man roster as the third quarterback. Jay Gruden had some rather tepid praise for him last week. “He’s done good,” he said. “I like Kevin. He’s a smart kid and he’s got some deceiving escape ability to him. He can run a little bit. We saw one today, he popped out of there for about a 20-yard gain. I like where he’s at.” But near the end of that practice, Hogan threw a red zone pass right into the arms of rookie CB Greg Stroman. If we see much more of that, the Redskins may keep a sixth wide receiver or tenth offensive lineman rather than a third quarterback. 

—When he is asked about the performance of undrafted rookies, Gruden usually declines to praise specific players so when he does pick out individuals it’s worth paying some attention. On Wednesday he said that WR Cam Simms and CB Danny Johnson “stood out” at their respective positions. Looking at it right now, there don’t appear to be roster spots available for either of them. But one or two undrafted players break through and make the roster every year and Simms and Johnson are two to watch. 

— “In the second year, we expect major strides for all first-year guys. I’ve said it before. So just understanding pro football, what it’s all about in your first year, you have the four preseason games and 16 regular season games,” Gruden said when asked about RB Samaje Perine. “It’s a grind, mentally. It’s all-day football, not like college where you only get 20 hours a week, so I think he understands the grind and our system a lot better.” The answer obviously applies to all of the 2017 draft picks. In particular, they will be counting on next steps from OLB Ryan Anderson, CB Fabian Moreau, WR Robert Davis, and CB Joshua Holsey. History tells us that some will take big steps, others will not.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline  

Former Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was born on this date in 1978.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 36
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 50
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 73

The Redskins last played a game 171 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 81 days. 

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3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

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3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

Nationals fans are teetering on the edge. 

On one hand, the Nats are 3.5 games out of first place after a 10-week span full of injuries and underperformance. The team just acquired All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera, and their 19-year-old left fielder looks like an All-Star already. 

On the other hand, doom is imminent. The Monstars stole Bryce Harper's abilities at some point over the last three weeks, Steven Strasburg can't stay healthy, and the offense is pushing everyone's patience to the limit. 

So who's overperforming? Who's underperforming? Who's out there just trying their very best? LET'S LIST. 

Three Up

1. Juan Soto

Our large young son Juan continues to impress. He's now hitting .325/.411/.602 with a 1.013 OPS in 95 plate appearances over 25 games. That means we're mercifully starting to leave the 'fluky start' narrative behind. He's been the best hitter on the Nationals by a wide margain since he got called up - although that's perhaps more of an indicitment on the rest of the lineup than it is on Soto. Still, in less than a month he's probably earned the starting left field spot for the rest of the summer. Not bad. 

2. Justin Miller

Miller is 31, on his third team in four years, and owns a career ERA north of 4.50. Despite all of this, Miller's been the best reliever in baseball since coming up for the Nats. Of relief pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched (we hear your sample size comment and are not going to acknolwdge it), no one has a better FIP than Miller (0.64). He's striking out over half of the batters he sees and has yet to walk a single person this year. All the elite relief pitchers are already at 30-40 innings pitched, so Miller has a while to go before these stats mean a whole lot. If he stays even 75 percent as good as he's started, the Nats' bullpen looks scary. 

3. Michael A. Taylor

Have yourself a week or two, Michael A.! The centerfielder is slashing .500/.556/.583 over the last 14 days, the first of many "Maybe He Put It Together?!" runs we'll see from him this year. He also has six stolen bases during that span, more than anyone else on the team. His plate discipline has been better over the last two weeks, with a BB% a shade over 11 percent - only behind Juan Soto for highest on the team. Juan Soto, man. 

Three Down

1. Bryce Harper

A couple things here. We'll start with the admission that Bryce Harper is obviously not having a superb year. We've already briefly touched on why looking at only his batting average is a lazy way of judging his season, and we stand by that. With that said - Harper's had a bad season. The last month has been particularly painful. There's no way of dressing up a .189/.278/.400 slashline over the last 30 days. Still, his contact has been as great as his luck terrible - there's a positive regression coming, we promise. 

2. Pedro Severino 

And you think Harper's been slumping?? Over the same 30 days, Severino has hit .098/.179/.115 with a .294 OPS. He's essentially daring the Nats to put together a trade package for JT Realmuto at this point. He has six hits over his last 68 plate appearances and five of them are singles. 

3. Shawn Kelley

Kelley owns a 6.09 FIP and a 4.32 ERA over the last month (10 games, 8.1 innings pitched). He's walking close to nine percent of the hitters he's faced during that time. He has a 12.5 HR/FB over the last month. With the trade for Kelvin Herrera and the sudden emergence of Justin Miller, Kelley's role going forward isn't quite as clear anymore. 

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