Bowden, Franchione Both Among Winningest Active Coaches
Both coaches in Saturday evening's game in Clemson, rank among the top 10 winningest active coaches in Division I football. Clemson's Tommy Bowden has a 62-33 record for a .653 winning percentage, the 10th best percentage among active coaches, while Dennis Franchione stands at 166-86-2 for a .657 percent, the ninth best percentage.
Both are in their ninth seasons as Division I head coaches. Franchione is the sixth winningest active coach on a total victories list, just below former Clemson head coach Ken Hatfield, who is fifth with 167 wins. Hatfield is entering his 12th season at Rice.
Tommy Bowden's father, Bobby Bowden of Florida State, is fourth on the list with a 77.2 figure. He is just behind Steve Spurrier, back on the list as the head coach at South Carolina after coaching two years with the Washington Redskins.
The winningest active coaching list is another document of Clemson's difficult schedule this year. Clemson must face three of the top 10 winningest active coaches in Spurrier (3rd), Bobby Bowden (4th) and Franchione (9th).
Clemson vs. Texas A&M Series
Texas A&M holds a 3-0 advantage in the series against Clemson. The two teams met last year in College Station and the Aggies came away with a 27-6 victory. Texas A&M first played Clemson in 1973, a 30-15 A&M win behind a 204-yard rushing performance from Bubba Bean. The following year Texas A&M shut out Clemson 24-0 behind defensive All-American Ed Simonini.
One of the highlights of the 1973 game for Clemson was an 81-yard punt by Mitch Tyner, still the longest punt in Clemson history by three yards. The punt took place on Clemson's first possession of the game and went from the Clemson 19 into the end zone. He later had a 55-yard punt in the first period and ended the day with a 45-yard average on eight boots.
Bennie Cunningham, Clemson's All-America tight end who later went on to play for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, had a 16-yard touchdown catch from Ken Pengitore to give Clemson a 6-0 lead in the 1973 game. But, Clemson would have just three more completions the rest of the day and Pengitore finished 4-18 through the air. The Tigers had 183 yards rushing and 59 yards passing in the 1973 game.
In 1974, it was once again the Texas A&M Wishbone rushing attack that was the difference, as Emory Bellard's team rushed for 434 yards, still the sixth highest opponent total in Clemson history and the seventh highest total in Texas A&M history. Bean had 18-182, giving him 40 carries for 386 in two games against Clemson, a 9.65 average.
Texas A&M was ranked 20th in the AP poll entering the game and finished the year with a #16 final ranking and an 8-3 season. Clemson would lose its next game in 1974, then win seven of its last nine, including wins over Georgia and Georgia Tech to finish 7-4. Despite the fine records for both teams, this was an era where there were only 15 bowl games and neither team advanced to the postseason.
Two of Top Four Quarterbacks on Display?
According to collegefootballnews.com one of the leading internet sites covering college football, two of the top NFL prospects at quarterback will be on display at Death Valley on Saturday evening. Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is ranked third among NFL prospects by the site, while Texas A&M signal caller Reggie McNeal is ranked fourth.
Whitehurst has the upperhand in terms of career stats, leading in passing yards, completions and total offense. In fact, Whitehurst has more career passing yards than any other active Division I player. But, McNeal is coming off the better season as he gained 3,509 yards of total offense in 2004 off 2,791 passing and 718 rushing. The passing yardage total was a school record and he threw just four interceptions. He defeated the Tigers last year in the head to head battle in College Station when he had over 300 yards of total offense.
Whitehurst Has 29 Career Starts
Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the nation. The Clemson graduate has an 18-11 record as a starter entering his final season and the 29 career starts rank second nationally among active Division I quarterbacks. Only Brad Smith of Missouri has more, as he has 35 career starts under his belt. Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt also has 29 career starts entering this season.
Whitehurst's 18 wins stand in a tie for eighth in Clemson history. Rodney Williams has the record with 32, so the 1989 Clemson graduate's record will be safe for at least another five years because Whitehurst can't catch him. But, a seven win season with Whitehurst under center will bring the native of Duluth, GA to second in Clemson history. Nealon Greene is second on the list with 24 wins, six more than Whitehurst.
Bowden High on First-year Freshmen
Clemson's 2005 freshman class was regarded as among the best at Clemson in many years and among the best in the nation according to many services. Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden has added to the interest with his praise of the first year freshmen during preseason camp. He has said as many as 10 first year freshmen could play this year.
That would be nearly double the average for Clemson football since the red-shirt rule came into being in 1982. In the last 23 years (or since 1982), Clemson has played 124 first-year freshmen, an average of 5.39 per season. Fifty-three of the first-year freshmen who have played have been offensive players, while 67 have been defensive players and four have been kickers.
Since Bowden came to Clemson in 1999, the Tigers have played 26 first-year freshmen, nine on offense, 15 on defense and two special teams. That is an average of 4.33 first-year freshman per year, so Bowden is a bit below the Clemson average for the last 23 years.
The record for first-year freshmen played in one season is 11 in 1985. That year Danny Ford played six first-year freshmen on offense and five on defense. The 1994 Clemson team under Tommy West played 10 first-year freshmen, including a record nine on offense.
The most successful Clemson team to play a lot of freshmen is the 1995 Tiger team. That year Clemson played nine first-year freshmen on the way to an 8-4 season. The most wins for a Clemson team that has played at least eight first year freshmen is 10, set in 1989, a Clemson tam that played eight first-year freshmen in a 10-2 season.
The most first-year freshmen Clemson has played in the Bowden era is nine, in 2001. That year Bowden played three on offense and six on defense on the way to a 7-5 season.
Clemson has played at least one first-year freshman for all 23 years of the rule. The fewest was the one used in 2002 (Justin Miller).
Bowden already has had two first-year freshmen earn All-America honors. Justin Miller (2002) and Barry Richardson (2004) were both named to the Football Writers first-team Freshman All-American team since Bowden has been the head coach.
Bowden First-Year Freshman Participants
1999: (5)--David Ellis (LB), Rodney Feaster (LB), Brian Mance (DB), Bernard Rambert (RB), Rodney Thomas (LB).
2000: (4)--Aaron Hunt (PK), Yusef Kelly (RB), John Leake (LB), Ronnie Thomas (WR).
2001: (9)--Eric Coleman (DT), Roscoe Crosby (WR), Airese Currie (WR), Moe Fountain (DE), Ben Hall (TE), Leroy Hill (LB), Tavaghn Monts (DB), Travis Pugh (FS), Eric Sampson (LB).
2002: (1)--Justin Miller (CB).
2003: (5)--Tramaine Billie (SS), Jad Dean (PK), Marion Dukes (OT), Sergio Gilliam (DB), Brandon Pilgrim (OG).
2004: (2)--La'Donte Harris (WR), Barry Richardson (OT).
Texas A&M Overview
Texas A&M had a 7-5 record last season under second year head coach Dennis Franchione. The club earned a bid to the Cotton Bowl after a 7-4 regular season, the program's first bowl bid since 2001. With the return of one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the nation, plus experienced running back Courtney Lewis, the Aggies are ranked in the top 25 of just about every preseason poll.
McNeal is the only returning quarterback in the nation who averaged 55 yards rushing and 230 yards passing in 2004. One of his breakout games came against Clemson when he had 178 yards passing and 129 yards rushing. He broke the school's total offense record with 3,509 yards and had six 300-yard games.
Lewis gained 165 yards rushing in a career high 28 carries against Clemson last year and returns hopefully of reaching 1000 yards for the season, a plateau he attained in 2003. He already has 21 touchdowns under his belt. The outlook for Lewis's rushing game is bright because Texas A&M returns four starters on the offensive line, led by seniors Aldo De La Garza and Jami Hightower. Hightower has 29 career starts under his belt.
Defensively, Texas A&M still refers to its defense as the wrecking crew. Three-year starter Johnny Jolly is one of the top run-stoppers in the Big 12. He had 45 tackles last year. Senior Lee Foliaki of Euless, TX is the top returning tackler among the linebackers with 63, including 11 against Oklahoma in the narrow Texas A&M loss near the end of the season.
All-America candidate Jaxson Appel leads the secondary. Appel has been the cornerstone of the Texas A&M secondary for three years and already has nearly 300 tackles to go with eight interceptions. Todd Pegram of Plano, Texas, the same hometown as former Clemson linebacker John Leake, connected on 12-13 field goals last year and is a Lou Groza Award candidate.
Reviews of Clemson Preseason Scrimmages 2005
August 13, 2005
Quarterbacks Charlie Whitehurst and Will Proctor combined for 296 yards passing and four touchdowns to highlight play in a 72-play Clemson football scrimmage at Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning. It was the ninth straight day of practice for the Tigers who will break from practice for Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday (3:00 PM to 5:00 PM at Memorial Stadium.)
"We went into the scrimmage with some set plays in certain situations that we wanted to see on film," said Bowden. "I thought we threw and caught the ball well. We gave up some sacks that weren't called and that hurt the defense some (statistically). I thought the backs ran hard. Defensively I didn't think we tackled very well. We need to improve in that area."
Bowden had his number-one offense go against the number-one defense for the entire day. Charlie Whitehurst was sharp, hitting 14-21 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. His performance included scoring passes of 13 and five yards to Chansi Stuckey. Stuckey was the top pass catcher with five receptions for 52 yards and the two scores.
Kelvin Grant led all receivers in terms of yardage with 78 yards on four catches. He had a 43-yard reception from Proctor early in the scrimmage, then suffered a shoulder injury on a diving 14-yard grab for a score from Proctor. It is not known at this time how much time Grant will miss due to the injury.
Proctor was 7-13 for 156 yards and two touchdowns. He completed a pair of deep balls on the day, the aforementioned 43-yard pass to Grant and a 59-yard scoring pass to first-year freshman Tyler Grisham. That was the first touchdown of the day. Senior Curtis Baham also had a good day in the receiving department, catching four passes for 37 yards. Aaron Kelly caught both passes thrown his way for 31 yards and Andrew Diomande also had a pair of catches for 19 yards.
Reggie Merriweather led the running backs with nine rushes for 54 yards and a touchdown, while Duane Coleman had 4-15 and a six-yard scoring run. That run was one of the highlights of the day as he was initially stopped up the middle, broke to the left and scored thanks to a block from quarterback Proctor.
The offense had two fumbles, but did not lose a fumble to the defense and the quarterbacks did not throw an interception. Cullen Harper also saw action in the scrimmage and was 2-3 for 19 yards. The three quarterbacks were a combined 23-37 for 315 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
The kicking game was also solid. Junior kicker Jad Dean kicked a 52-yard field goal that hit the crossbar and bounced over. He also had a 45-yarder and missed from 57 yards on a kick that was long enough, but wide left. Stephen Furr, the starter at the beginning of last year, had a 40-yard field goal.
The defense was led by Nick Watkins, who had seven tackles, including two tackles for loss. Anthony Waters added seven tackles, including six first hits. Rashaad Jackson had four tackles, including two tackles for loss, including a sack, to lead the defensive linemen.
Kelvin Grant and Antonio Clay were the only players who left the scrimmage with an injury. Grant suffered a shoulder injury and the extent of it will not be known until Sunday or Monday. Clay suffered a bruised thigh that was not serious. Dustin Fry missed the scrimmage due to a hamstring injury and Bobby Hutchinson was out due to a sprained ankle. Starting guard Nathan Bennett, who had missed the last two days with a virus, was back in action on Saturday.
August 20, 2005
Five Clemson tailbacks gained 209 yards rushing, but the number-one defense yielded just one touchdown to highlight play in Clemson's scrimmage at Death Valley on Saturday morning. The Tigers worked for three hours as they prepare for the season opener September 3 against Texas A&M.
The offense did not lose a turnover for the second straight scrimmage. Tiger quarterbacks completed 33-48 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns. The ground game picked up 220 yards rushing altogether on 51 attempts.
"There were positives on either side of the ball," said Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden. "We didn't lose a turnover for the second straight scrimmage and that was a plus. We came close to a couple of turnovers on defense and we obviously need to create turnovers. We were last in the nation in turnover margin when we were 1-4 last year so that is an area we are stressing on both sides of the ball in practice.
"Defensively we have to get a better pass rush from our front four linemen. We have to improve in that area. But, the tackling was improved from what I saw last Saturday."
James Davis, who had missed the last two days of practice, returned on Saturday and had 15 rushes for 69 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown. He led the scrimmage in rushing attempts and rushing yards. "I was glad to be back. It felt great to be with the team today. I missed the last two days for personal reasons. I look forward to working hard in practice and contributing to this team."
Clemson's veteran running backs also performed well. Reggie Merriweather had 10-44 rushing and two touchdowns, while Kyle Browning added 12-34 rushing. Duane Coleman contributed four rushes for 22 yards and walk-on running back Paul Macko had 6-40 and drew praise from Coach Bowden after the scrimmage.
Charlie Whitehurst ran the first team offense against the first team defense and completed 13-23 passes for 86 yards. Will Proctor continued to be impressive, hitting 16-21 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns against the number-two defense. Red-shirt freshman Cullen Harper was 4-4 for 31 yards while running the third team.
The receiving stats were also balanced. Freshman Tyler Grisham was the top receiver in terms of receptions, while classmate Rendrick Taylor was the top receiver in terms of yardage. Grisham had five catches for 49 yards, while Taylor had 4-79, including a 52-yard touchdown catch from Proctor.
Curtis Baham had a strong scrimmage with 4-40 receiving, while La'Donte Harris added 4-39, including a 13-yard touchdown. Chansi Stuckey had 4-20 receiving and walk-on Nelson Faerber added 4-27. Aaron Kelly had 3-19 receiving, as Rob Spence's offense had 12 different receivers.
Jad Dean continued to do well, hitting 3-3 on field goals (successful attempts from 28, 29 and 30 yards).
The defense was led by linebacker Tramaine Billie, who had eight tackles, including six first hits. Jamaal Fudge was also a standout with seven tackles and two passes broken up. David Dunham added six tackles, including two for loss. Rashaad Jackson, who is challenging for playing time in the defensive line, had four tackles, including two tackles for loss. Philip Merling had four tackles, including a sack, the only sack of the scrimmage.
There were no new injuries in the scrimmage. Charles Bennett left the scrimmage halfway through due to the heat and Bobby Williamson left early with leg cramps, also the result of the heat. Christian Capote (knee) and Kelvin Grant (separated shoulder) were the only players to miss the scrimmage due to injury.
August 23, 2005
Duane Coleman ran for 51 yards in just five carries to lead the offense, and Gaines Adams recorded a pair of sacks to lead the defense in a 75-play Clemson scrimmage in Death Valley on Tuesday night. The two and a half hour practice concluded the preseason camp for the Clemson football team. The Tigers will have Wednesday off from a football standpoint, but it will be the first day of school on the Clemson campus.
Bowden was pleased with the effort of his team throughout preseason camp, but is hard pressed to say whether the offense or defense is ahead at this point. "The effort has been there the entire preseason," said Bowden of his team, who made its team conditioning run after every practice in the preseason. "This was the final practice of camp and they continued the good effort.
"What I have been most pleased with is the depth. We still have a lot of battles for starting positions going on. You can go right through the team. I think a lot of players will see action this fall. And that includes the freshman class. We still have some decisions to make, but I wouldn't be surprised if we played seven or eight true freshman this year."
As far as Tuesday's scrimmage, and the team at this point, he could not say who was ahead. "I really couldn't say whether the defense or the offense is ahead at this point. Just tonight, the offense drove it right down the field on the first possession, but then got only a field goal. Then there were parts when the defensive dominated. Then, when we had a situation where the offense was backed up to its one-yard-line, the offense broke some big plays.
"But, overall, the attitude has been very healthy."
The Clemson team is in fairly good health physically. The only new injury reported on Tuesday was a sprained shoulder by tight end Bobby Williamson. Donnell Clark (ankle), Kwam Williams (ankle), Cole Downer (chest injury), and Kelvin Grant (separated shoulder) were on the injured list on Tuesday. The only player at this point in jeopardy of missing the Texas A&M game would be Grant.
Statistically, Tuesday's scrimmage was balanced on both sides of the ball. Charlie Whitehurst was 8-15 for 69 yards with the number-one offense against the number-one defense, while Will Proctor continued his fine preseason by completing 12-17 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. He did throw an interception, however, one that was picked off by freshman Ray Ray McElrathbey in the endzone. Red-shirt freshman Cullen Harper was 4-5 for 63 yards and two scores.
The top rusher in the scrimmage was Paul Macko, who had 5-61 rushing and a touchdown for the third string offense. Coleman led the first teamers with 5-51 rushing. Freshman James Davis had 11-41 and a touchdown (3-yard run), while Reggie Merriweather had 6-24.
The receiving stats were balanced once again. Freshman Tyler Grisham had 3-50 receiving, including a 22-yard touchdown catch off a deflected pass from Will Proctor. Freshman Rendrick Taylor had 3-34 and Nelson Faerber had 3-47.
Clemson Openers vs. Ranked Opponent
This is the third time in the last four years that Clemson has opened the season with a top 20 team. The Tigers opened against top 10 teams from Georgia in 2002 and 2003 and now will face a 17th ranked (both polls) Texas A&M team in the opener for 2005. The Tigers are 1-6 in the previous season openers against a ranked team.
Clemson had not faced a ranked team in a season opener since 1982 prior to the 2002 game when Georgia was ranked eighth by AP in the preseason poll. Of the seven previous years Clemson has opened with a ranked team, Georgia hs been the opponent three times. Texas A&M, Clemson's opening ranked opponent in 2005, was also a ranked opponent in the opening game of 1974.
Clemson's only season opening win in history over a ranked opponent took place at North Carolina in 1959, a 20-18 win over a 12th ranked North Carolina team for Frank Howard's Tigers. The highest ranked opponent Clemson has faced in a season opener took place in 1963 when Frank Howard's team lost at fourth-ranked Oklahoma, 31-14.
Home Schedule the Toughest?
In many ways this is the most challenging home schedule in Clemson history. Four of the six opponents (Texas A&M, Miami (FL), Boston College and Florida State) are ranked in the preseason top 25 of the AP poll. That is a first in Clemson history.
We will have to watch to polls to see how many of those teams are ranked when they come to Clemson. Clemson has never had four top 25 teams come to Clemson in the same season. In act, only the 2003 and 1988 seasons have seen as many as three top 25 teams play against Clemson in Death Valley. In 1988, Clemson lost to a 10th ranked Florida State team at home, but beat top 25 teams from Duke and South Carolina later in the season. In 2003, Clemson lost the opener at home to a top 10 Georgia team, then beat 25th ranked Virginia in overtime, and defeated third ranked Florida State.
Overall, Clemson is 22-23-1 against top 25 teams in Death Valley over the years. Coach Bowden is 4-4 against top 25 teams at home in his six years, including the 26-10 win over third ranked Florida State in 2003, the highest ranked team Clemson has beaten in history at home.
The number of games against top 25 teams at home shows how the ACC has gotten stronger over the years. Clemson played just four games against top 25 teams at home between 1942-66. That is four games in 25 years. In the last 25 years Clemson has played 32 games against top 25 teams at home.
Whitehurst Named to Johnny Unitas Golden Arm List
Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is one of 22 senior quarterbacks named to the top candidates list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The award goes to the top senior quarterback in the nation each year and is presented by the Frank Camp Chapter of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.
Whitehurst is one of four ACC quarterbacks on the list as he also joins Jay Davis of NC State, Marques Hagans of Virginia and Quinton Porter of Boston College. Texas A&M senior Reggie McNeal is also on the list.
Whitehurst will be entering his four season as Clemson's starting quarterback. He has started each of the last 29 Clemson games and the Tigers are 18-11 in those games. He has passed for 7182 yards in his career so far. Earlier, Whitehurst was named as a preseason top 50 candidate for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the top all-around player in college football, and was a preseason candidate for the Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the nation's top quarterback.
Koenning vs. Koenning with Texas A&M Has the Ball
One of the more interesting matchups from a coaching standpoint will take place when Texas A&M has the ball. Texas A&M's offensive coordinator and Clemson's defensive coordinator are both named Koenning and are cousins and obviously will be matching strategies when Texas A&M has the ball on Saturday night. This will be the first time they have coached against each other.
Clemson's Vic Koenning is in his first season as Clemson's defensive coordinator after leading Troy's fine defense the last two years. Koenning's defense at Troy was sixth in the nation in pass defense, eighth in rushing defense and 10th in scoring defense in 2004. The only other Division I school to rank in the top 10 in all three of those categories last year was National Champion Southern Cal.
Texas A&M's Les Koenning is in his third season at Texas A&M, his 25th year in coaching. He was at Alabama with Dennis Franchione before going to Texas A&M. He has coached against Clemson previously, as he was the Duke offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in 1998 when the Blue Devils defeated Clemson in Durham. He also led the Texas A&M offense last year when the Aggies defeated Clemson in College Station.
Book on Jim Phillips On Sale This Weekend
A new book entitled, "Still Roaring, Tales of a Life in Broadcasting" will hit the bookstores this week and will be available in the Clemson area. The book is on the life and times of Jim Phillips, the voice of Clemson athletics for 36 years. Ken Tysiac, who covered Clemson athletics for the Anderson Independent and the Columbia State from 1995-2003, is the author. Tysiac now covers ACC sports for the Charlotte Observer.
Phillips and Tysiac actually started work on the book in 1998 and they had just about finished their work on it when Phillips suddenly passed away in September of 2003. In interviews before his death Phillips told the story of his life, and much of it centers around his career at Clemson. Any Clemson fan will enjoy it.
Tysiac will be in town throughout the weekend at various book signings. He will be at the Anderson touchdown Club on Friday afternoon at noon, Mr. Knickerbocker's from 11-12:30 PM and 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM on Saturday. He will be at the campus bookstore from 1:00-3:00 PM on Saturday. On top of all that, he will cover the came for the Charlotte Observer.
Clemson Announces 2006 Football Opponents
Clemson will play road games in major markets Boston and Philadelphia in addition to having ACC road trips to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest according to the list of opponents the Tigers will play in 2006. The slate of Clemson opponents was released on Monday.
Clemson only announced the list of opponents and game sites it will play in 2006. The dates of all games will be determined and released in January, 2006.
Clemson and the other 118 Division I teams will play 12 regular season games in 2006. The Tigers non-conference foes include South Carolina, Louisiana Tech, Temple and Florida Atlantic. All but the Temple game will be played in Clemson Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers will play ACC home games against Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State and North Carolina in 2006, while league road games will be at Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Florida Atlantic, who finished with a 9-3 record under Howard Schnellenberger, in 2004, will come to Clemson for the first time ever.
Schnellenberger coached Miami (FL) to the 1983 National Championship. Louisiana Tech will travel to Clemson for the second time. Clemson has a 2-0 lifetime record against Louisiana Tech, a 49-24 victory in the Humanitarian Bowl to close the 2001 season, then a 33-13 win at Clemson in the second game of the 2002 season.
Clemson and Temple begin a three-year series in 2005 when the Owls come to Clemson on October 22. The two teams will meet in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, in 2006.
North Carolina returns to Clemson's schedule for the first time since 2003 when the Tigers won a thrilling 36-28 game in Death Valley. It will be the only game between Clemson and North Carolina between 2004 and 2009.
The Tigers travel to Wake Forest in 2006, the second consecutive year Clemson will play in Winston-Salem. Clemson plays at Wake Forest this year on October 1. When Clemson plays at Boston College in 2006 it will be Clemson's first trip to Boston since the 1983 season when the Tigers suffered their only loss of the year to a Doug Flutie led Eagles team.
Clemson will not play ACC teams Virginia, Duke or Miami (FL) in 2006.
Clemson Opponents in 2006
Home-- Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, South Carolina, North Carolina, NC State, Maryland, Georgia Tech.
Away--Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Temple, Wake Forest.
Texas A&M - Clemson Game Notes
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