NCAA Football

Heisman Candidate Ameer Abdullah Makes Nebraska a Potential Playoff Crasher

Think Nebraska doesn't have a shot at the playoffs? As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend." With Heisman candidate Ameer Abdullah leading the way, the Huskers can't be counted out just yet. As Bleacher Report's own Adam Kramer pointed out, Nebraska's chances are intriguing:

Abdullah only adds to it.

Against Rutgers, Abdullah had an impressive 225 rushing yards. Those yards increased his season rushing total to 1,249 yards. Abdullah has excelled against more opponents then just Rutgers, though. He hasn't just excelled at running the ball, either.

"He is very good. Very good," Rutgers senior defensive end David Milewski said. "All around, he did everything, caught the ball, ran the ball and returned the ball. I think he is good as advertised."

That's what Abdullah does. He's an all-purpose back who's not afraid to do what he needs to do to help the Huskers win. If that means he's blocking on one play, that means he's blocking. It simply doesn't matter to the senior.

"It's about being as good as I can in every area and not being good in certain areas and not so good in other areas," Abdullah said. "I want to maximize my potential as much as I can in everything I do."

That mindset has paid off for the senior. He had 341 all-purpose yards against Rutgers, which set a school record. He surpassed Roy Helu's 321 all-purpose yards against Missouri in 2010. Making it even better, this was also his second 300-yard all-purpose game this season. He's the only player in the nation to accomplish that this season so far. Big Ten Network shared the play that placed Abdullah in the history books as the Huskers' all-time leading receiver:

Does that mean Abdullah can lead this team to the College Football Playoff? It won't be easy, but he's making a strong case.

While it may seem unlikely, as Kramer noted, the Huskers are still in the hunt for the playoff. According to CBSSports.com, Nebraska is one of 12 teams with an outside chance to make it. But can it really be done?

First, the Huskers will need to win out. In order to do so, Nebraska will have to play at the highest level possible, something it didn't do against Rutgers, according to head coach Bo Pelini.

"Sloppy. Bad communication. Missed assignments. Dropping coverage when the quarterback scrambles. Things that will get you beaten down the line. It didn't get us beaten today, but it will get you beaten down the line. We've got to get some things fixed. We need to have some discipline on the defensive side of the ball. We were undisciplined."

The coach then put it on himself and his staff to make sure the errors are corrected. As he said, those types of errors (like turnovers and Josh Mitchell's lateral pass attempt) could cost Nebraska wins down the road. Teams such as Wisconsin and Iowa will be looking for Nebraska to make mistakes.

Speaking of upcoming opponents, the Huskers also need the remainder of their opponents to keep winning. Unfortunately, Minnesota didn't help that by losing 28-24 to Illinois on Saturday. However, Wisconsin won big over Maryland, and as long as the Badgers keep that up, it will only help Nebraska.

Ultimately, if the Huskers do win out, it's going to be about winning the Big Ten Championship. Whether the opponent is Michigan State or Ohio State, Nebraska will need a victory in Indianapolis to keep the playoff dream alive.

But is that dream actually worth having? The answer is absolutely. Nebraska is not down for the count just yet, and with Abdullah leading the way, the potential is still there. However, Abdullah knows the performance against Rutgers isn't going to be enough.

"I know personally we have so much more out there for us. We won by 18, and I know we could have played so much better. We should have played much better. So this sounds good, but we've got to be much better. We can't keep talking like, 'What could have been.' We've got to do it, and it starts with preparation."

November is going to be a big month for Nebraska. How the Huskers come away from it will determine a lot about the team's playoff potential. The one aspect Nebraska can count on is Abdullah, who is determined to lead the team to more victories.

As the I-back said, there's more out there for the Huskers. It's now about making it happen.

 

All quotes and statistics were obtained firsthand via the Huskers' postgame press conference, unless otherwise noted.

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Jameis Winston Crab Leg Incident Turns into Great Couple Halloween Costume Idea

As Halloween approaches, sports fans are coming up with all kinds of great costume ideas.

In honor of the crab leg incident involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, this clever couple costume idea was created. 

Winston probably wouldn't be a fan of the costumes, but he's likely in the minority here.

[Instagram, h/t Black Sports Online]

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UNLV's Kendal Keys Makes Diving TD Grab After Deflection vs. Utah State

That's one way for a true freshman to make a name for himself.

During the second quarter of Saturday's game against Utah State, UNLV freshman wide receiver Kendal Keys made this incredible diving touchdown grab after the ball was deflected up in the air.

The touchdown helped the Rebels cut the Aggies' lead down to just 10-7.

[Vine]

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Wisconsin Football: Are Badgers True Threats in Race for Big Ten Title?

It hasn’t been the easiest first half of the season for Wisconsin.

The Badgers’ College Football Playoff hopes went on life support after blowing a 17-point second-half lead in the opener against LSU and flatlined following an ugly 20-14 loss to Northwestern. However, the Badgers still have hope for the second half of 2014, and Saturday’s 52-7 rout of Maryland serves as Exhibit A.

The Terrapins entered Madison with a quality 5-2 record but didn’t put up anything resembling a fight. In the process, Wisconsin showed why it can still be a Big Ten title contender.

The Badgers have one of the nation’s best running games and a defense that is showing improvement: Stefon Diggs’ touchdown with less than a minute to play was the only thing that kept Wisconsin from its first FBS shutout since the 2013 season opener against UMass.

And few, if any teams, can match the backfield firepower that Wisconsin has with junior tailback Melvin Gordon. Wisconsin entered Saturday as the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense, averaging an astounding 343 rushing yards per game. Gordon entered as the nation’s second-leading rusher, and he backed it up with a 122-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Terrapins.

Gordon has surpassed 100 yards and scored at least one touchdown in all but one game this season (a 17-carry, 38-yard effort against FCS Western Illinois). He is a legit Heisman Trophy candidate whose campaign could be enhanced by his team’s overall success.

The Badgers play three of their final five games away from Camp Randall Stadium, traveling to Rutgers, Purdue and Iowa. Of those three, only the trip to Kinnick Stadium could be considered dangerous. And keep this in mind: Maryland beat Iowa 38-31 last week in College Park.

Wisconsin’s biggest game is at home: No. 16 Nebraska visits Nov. 15 with two of the nation’s top tailbacks (Gordon and Nebraska senior Ameer Abdullah) facing off. Playing in raucous Camp Randall is a major edge for the Badgers, especially with potentially dicey November weather conditions in play.

Win that game, and Wisconsin would likely be the Big Ten West Division champion, with a shot at facing either Michigan State or Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

The Badgers would be an underdog in that game, but given the struggles of the season’s first half, it would be a victory just to get that far. And the way Gary Andersen’s team is playing right now, there’s no reason to count Wisconsin out of the league race.

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Kentucky's Blake McClain Blasts Mississippi State's Joe Morrow

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are playing their first game in school history ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation, but the Kentucky Wildcats are trying their best to pull off the major upset.

During the first quarter of Saturday's game, Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott threw a soft pass to wide receiver Joe Morrow, who got blasted by Kentucky defensive back Blake McClain.

The pass fell incomplete.

[Vine]

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Ameer Abdullah vs. Rutgers: Stat Line, Heisman Impact and Reaction

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah put on a record-setting, all-purpose show in the Cornhuskers' 42-24 win over Rutgers on Saturday. His dominant display will almost surely put his name back in contention for the Heisman Trophy.

Abdullah's 341 all-purpose yards set a school record and are the second-most in the history of the Big Ten, per ESPN Stats & Info:

He ripped off touchdown runs of 53 and 48 yards in the second quarter, setting the tone for what would be an extraordinary day on the ground. Mike Welch of 93.7 The Ticket had this to say about Abdullah's moves:

As if ripping off insanely long gains from scrimmage wasn't enough, Abdullah electrified the crowd with a 76-yard kickoff return during the contest. Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis was in awe of the performance:

This fan, Tunnel Walk of Shame, could hardly fathom Abdullah's video game-style runs:

ESPN provided a look at his third touchdown of the day, which came on a 23-yard burner in the fourth quarter:

The senior halfback seemed deeply appreciative of the opportunity to put on a show in a Cornhuskers jersey.

"Every time I step on the field, whether practice or games, I'm always creating memories here," Abdullah said after the game, via The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "These are always things I'm going to remember, coming here and playing football for this great university."

Abdullah's name has been conspicuously absent from the Heisman discussion as of late, through no fault of his own. Nebraska has underwhelmed at times this season, and the Big Ten has lost its luster in recent years. 

Georgia running back Todd Gurley's suspension opens the door for Abdullah to make his case as the premier tailback in the nation.

He does face stiff competition from Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Indiana's Tevin Coleman, but Abdullah's electric style and ability to hurt teams in every facet of the game give him the edge over these two.

It's quite likely that the trophy goes to a quarterback like Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Mississippi State's Dak Prescott. However, don't be surprised if the words "Abdullah" and "Heisman" appear together in headlines across the nation as the season comes to a close.

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Kansas State's November Schedule Will Make or Break Wildcats in Playoff Race

If you had told people this summer that Kansas State would be the Big 12’s top College Football Playoff contender in late October, they’d probably have looked at you kind of funny.

What about Baylor? Or Oklahoma?

Yet, as we head toward November, that appears to be the case. Following Saturday’s 23-0 whipping of the Texas Longhorns, the Wildcats are in perfect position to make a playoff run. At 6-1 and the only team, they should be the league’s highest-ranked team when the first College Football Playoff Top 25 poll is released Tuesday evening. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Jake Trotter shared their thoughts about Kansas State and the College Football Playoff:

Can they become one of the nation’s top four teams when the playoff bracket is finalized in early December? Yes, but it won’t be easy. Not anywhere close.

The Wildcats’ remaining schedule is brutal, and K-State must improve an offense that has sputtered at times this season.

Following next week’s home date with a dangerous Oklahoma State team, Bill Snyder and Co. must travel to No. 10 TCU. After a bye, K-State will have a treacherous Thursday night trip to No. 22 West Virginia. An in-state rivalry date against hapless Kansas appears to be a gimme, but the Wildcats end the regular season with a Dec. 6 contest at No. 12 Baylor.

For those scoring at home, that's three conference road games against ranked opponents, along with a home meeting versus an Oklahoma State team that was ranked No. 15 in the nation last week. None of those games will be easy, and Kansas State must win out to have any shot at the playoff.

If Kansas State wants to make it through that tough slate of games, its offense will need to be a lot more lethal.

Senior quarterback Jake Waters is a dual-threat and a solid but not spectacular quarterback—especially when compared with the likes of TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Baylor’s Bryce Petty. Saturday, Waters completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards with zero interceptions, but he also threw zero touchdowns. The Wildcats also had more field goals (three) than touchdowns (two). ESPN Insider Travis Haney provided historical insight about K-State's shutout of Texas:

Penalties ruined a pair of K-State drives that could have led to more, as a holding penalty wiped out a long Waters pass to Tyler Lockett that would’ve set the ‘Cats up inside the Texas 10.

“I’m not too happy with the offensive execution we had,” Snyder told ESPN's television broadcast afterward. “I’m awfully proud of the guys maintaining possession of the ball, not making mistakes. But we got penalties, and a couple of penalties cost us with gargantuan plays. We took 14 points off the board with penalties.”

K-State’s defense is impressive: Saturday marked the program’s first shutout of a Big 12 foe since 2003, and it was the first time Texas had been shut out in league play since 2004. David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest is impressed with K-State's defense: 

That defense will keep the Wildcats competitive on the road, but they'll need more firepower to survive that incredibly tough stretch and make their unlikely College Football Playoff run a reality.

Should K-State win out, it could have a compelling playoff case. Slip up once and the dream is over. The Wildcats are on the right path, but they have no margin for error.

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Stanford's Christian McCaffrey Spins Free for 42-Yard TD vs. Oregon State

The Stanford Cardinal got on the board early on Saturday against the Oregon State Beavers thanks to a creative move downfield.

After catching a pass from Kevin Hogan, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey spun out an Oregon State defender and ran 42 yards for the opening touchdown. 

Christian is the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who spent 13 seasons in the league, so it's safe to say he made his dad proud with that spin move.

[Vine]

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Rutgers vs. Nebraska: Game Grades, Analysis for the Cornhuskers

After nearly a month away from home, Bo Pelini and No. 16 University of Nebraska (7-1) returned to Memorial Stadium and treated their fans to a 42-24 demolition of Rutgers University (5-3) Saturday afternoon.

The Cornhuskers backfield of Tommy Armstrong and Ameer Abdullah fueled an offense that piled up 455 total yards against a solid Rutgers defense. Pelini's squad is surging after the Michigan State University loss and has re-established itself as a contender in the West Division.

How did the Cornhuskers grade out from their impressive 18-point victory?

Nebraska Cornhuskers Grade Analysis

Pass Offense: Armstrong got off to a slow start, connecting on just six of his first 14 passes for 76 yards and an interception in the first half. He rebounded in the third quarter, through, throwing perfectly placed touchdown passes to Sam Cotton and Jordan Westerkamp on back-to-back drives. He finished with 163 passing yards and those two touchdown passes, completing 63.6 percent of his passes on the day. 

Run Offense: Abdullah paced Nebraska’s offense once again, running for 225 yards on 19 carries, averaging 11.8 yards per carry. He added three touchdowns on the ground, bringing his season total to 17. The Cornhuskers rushed for 292 yards total, completely overwhelming a solid Rutgers defensive front.

Pass Defense: It was a shaky start for Nebraska’s secondary as Gary Nova threw for 129 yards in the first quarter, highlighted by a 71-yard touchdown pass to Leonte Carroo. But the Cornhuskers settled in, allowing just 27 passing yards in the second quarter before Nova was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. Backup quarterback Chris Laviano didn’t have much success through the air, and Rutgers finished with just 205 passing yards Saturday afternoon.

Run Defense: Rutgers running back Desmon Peoples had a big game against Ohio State University last week, rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. But the sophomore struggled against Nebraska, gaining just 32 yards on 12 carries. Laviano provided a spark in the second half, running for 54 yards on five carries. But the Scarlet Knights were largely held in check. 

Special Teams: Nebraska dominated all three phases of the game, including a big edge in special teams. While Drew Brown misfired on a 42-yard field-goal attempt, the Cornhuskers came away with a blocked field-goal kick in the second quarter, and Abdullah busted an impressive 76-yard kickoff return in the second half.

Coaching: Pelini's staff called a good game on both sides of the ball. The defense adjusted nicely to Nova's fast start in the first half by completely shutting him down in the second quarter. The coaches also did a good job of tweaking the defense to limit Laviano's running ability in the fourth quarter. The offense maintained its identity throughout the game, which wisely highlighted Abdullah. 

This team is getting better every week, and that's a credit to the coaching staff.

 

All stats via NCAA.com.

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Penn State Fans Reportedly Use Air Horns at 4 a.m. Outside of Ohio State's Hotel

The Penn State Nittany Lions are hosting a very tough Ohio State Buckeyes team on Saturday night, so in preparation for the game, fans were trying to do whatever they could to give their team an edge.

According to some of the Buckeyes players, Nittany Lions fans brought air horns to the team's hotel and began using them around 4 a.m. Saturday morning. Offensive lineman Patrick Elflein tweeted about the incident.

Linebacker Darron Lee had an understandable reaction.

While it might have been annoying waking up to air horns, the Buckeyes don't have to play until 8 p.m. ET tonight, so they've had plenty of time to get some rest.

[Twitter, h/t Land-Grant Holy Land]

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Kentucky vs. Mississippi State: Live Score and Highlights

Mississippi State 24, Kentucky 17 ; Early 3rd Quarter

An interesting SEC clash takes place Saturday afternoon, as the No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-0) take on the upstart Kentucky Wildcats (5-2). 

The game will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET. It can be seen on CBS.

Odds Shark has Mississippi State as a 13-point favorite. A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com. 

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Michigan vs. Michigan State: Live Score and Highlights

Michigan will have to play its best game of 2014 if it hopes to compete with No. 8-ranked Michigan State this afternoon in East Lansing—plain and simple. 

The defending Rose Bowl champion Spartans (6-1, 3-0) have physically manhandled the Wolverines (3-4, 1-2) since 2008, winning five of the past six series meetings. With exception to Michigan's 12-10 victory in 2012, the games haven't even been close. 

Kickoff's at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET.

Keep your browser locked to this live blog for the latest stats, analysis, commentary and news surrounding one of college football's great rivalries. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter: @AdamBiggers81.

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Vanderbilt vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

The Vanderbilt Commodores travel to Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri, to take on the Missouri Tigers at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Vanderbilt is still looking for its first SEC win under first-year head coach Derek Mason while Gary Pinkel and Missouri are trying to continue to rebound after getting shut out by the Georgia Bulldogs in Week 7.

The Tigers handily beat Florida last week after taking advantage of a series of Gators mishaps, including interceptions, fumbles and special teams breakdowns.

Meanwhile, the Commodores are struggling to establish an identity on offense and defense and have struggled with the likes of UMass and Charleston Southern. 

Can Vanderbilt put together its first complete game of the season, or will Missouri continue to claw its way back into the SEC East title race?

Stay tuned right here for live updates and analysis once the game begins.

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Plane Flies over Michigan vs. Michigan State Game with 'Keep Brady Hoke' Banner

The Michigan State Spartans are looking to dominate their in-state rivals at home this Saturday, taking on the Michigan Wolverines.

As a likely joke from some Michigan State fans, a plane flying over Spartan Stadium had a banner that read, "U of M - Keep Brady Hoke - Plzzz."

With a 3-4 record to start the year, the Wolverines head coach could be on his way out after this season. But for the Spartans, they would have no problem with Hoke staying on if it means Michigan continues to struggle in the Big Ten.

[Twitter, h/t SB Nation]

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West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State: Live Score and Highlights

Fresh off an upset victory against Baylor, West Virginia will look to move to 4-1 in conference play with a win over Oklahoma State on Saturday.

On the other side, the Cowboys are in recovery mode after last week's 42-9 meltdown versus TCU. This is a big game for both teams if they want to stay in contention for the conference championship.

West Virginia held Baylor to its lowest offensive total (318 yards) of the season last Saturday while the Cowboys were only able to manage 258 yards of total offense in their game.

The game can be seen on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. ET, but be sure to come back here at kickoff for live updates and analysis.

 

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South Carolina vs. Auburn: Live Score and Highlights

The South Carolina Gamecocks and the Auburn Tigers are getting ready to do battle at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on the SEC Network.

After snapping a two-game losing streak by beating Furman last week, South Carolina will look to finish the SEC part of the season strong with wins over Auburn, Tennessee and Florida. The Gamecocks will be led by Mike Davis, who has 662 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Auburn, who is the No. 5 team in the country, is looking to bounce back after losing to Mississippi State two weeks ago. With an offense that has scored 20 or more points in every game since the start of the 2013 season, the Tigers should have no issues putting points on the board against a defense that is ranked 12th in the SEC.

Be sure to come back to this blog as soon as the game kicks off for the latest scoring updates and analysis.

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Arkansas OL Sebastian Tretola Throws Touchdown vs. UAB

Arkansas Razorbacks junior offensive tackle Sebastian Tretola is a big man at 6'5'' and 350 pounds, but he got a chance to play quarterback for a play on Saturday against the UAB Blazers.

In the second quarter, Arkansas ran this trick play with Tretola finding Alan D'Appollonio on a six-yard touchdown to take a comfortable 28-0 lead.

You can see another angle of the score below.

Former hefty Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Jared Lorenzen tweeted to congratulate Tretola on the score.

Offensive linemen rarely get the chance to score touchdowns, so give the Razorbacks some credit for drawing up this play.

[Vine, h/t Twitter]

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Willie Robertson from 'Duck Dynasty' Sings Katy Perry on 'College GameDay'

Willie and Jase Robertson from Duck Dynasty appeared on ESPN's College GameDay from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Saturday, and the TV stars got some revenge for Katy Perry's corn dog remarks made earlier this year. 

So how did Willie hit back? He quoted Katy Perry's hit song "Roar" as he picked the Tigers to beat Ole Miss. 

Now that is something you don't see every day—a bearded man quoting Katy Perry. 

College football unites all. 

[YouTube, h/t: The Big Lead]

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College Football Week 9: Live Scores, Highlights and Reaction

Week 9 may not have any game-of-the-century type hype, but it still packs a good punch.  

The top showdown of the night pits two SEC West foes against each other. The young and talented LSU Tigers will be out for revenge against the surging Ole Miss Rebels at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

Staying in the SEC, Tennessee will play host to Alabama at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Tide look to prove they can play a complete game on the road, whereas the Vols hope to show the nation their program truly is on the rise. 

In the Big Ten, Brady Hoke will fight to save his job as Michigan takes on rival Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. At 8 p.m. ET on ABC, Urban Meyer and Ohio State will battle James Franklin and Penn State. 

And out west, the USC Trojans hit the road to take on the surprising Utah Utes at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Which team will take the lead in the Pac-12 South? 

Keep it locked right here with Bleacher Report as we provide the latest scores, highlights and more for Week 9.

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Best Signs from ESPN's 'College GameDay' Week 9

This week's edition of ESPN's College GameDay comes from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as LSU hosts Ole Miss.

Katy Perry threw a couple jabs at LSU on the October 4 edition of GameDay, and the Tigers faithful haven't forgotten.

Here's a jab at Perry and Bo Wallace. 

He came out of nowhere!

Your friend was probably right.

Well, all right. 

Mississippi isn't that bad!

No. 24 LSU takes on No. 3 Ole Miss at Tiger Stadium at 7:15 p.m. ET.

One can only dream Katy Perry shows up.

[Twitter]

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