NCAA Football News

Boise State vs. BYU: Live Score and Highlights

10:00 2nd Quarter

No. 20 Boise State - 7

BYU - 7


The BYU Cougars look to build off last week's momentum from their Hail Mary victory over Nebraska by defending their home turf. They have to do it though against the No. 20 Boise State Broncos. 

Action in this contest is underway, follow updates below to stay plugged into the game. 

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Arkansas Making the Leap Won't Happen Unless Ground Game Gets Going

2015 began as a season of hope for Arkansas.

2014’s late-year surge to bowl eligibility, capped with a Texas Bowl stomping of old Southwest Conference rival Texas, sent expectations soaring in Fayetteville for Bret Bielema’s third season.

The Razorbacks were a Top 20 preseason pick and an SEC West dark horse, hype that was justified given the return of nine offensive starters, four offensive linemen and a pair of 1,000-yard tailbacks.

But following Saturday’s stunning 16-12 loss to Toledo in Little Rock, it appears to be time to recalibrate those hopes.

While Toledo is one of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference, the Rockets have no business going into an SEC stadium and winning, much less the way they did.

While Arkansas actually outgained Toledo 515-318 in yardage, the Razorbacks managed just 103 yards on the ground and passed the ball 53 times while rushing it 31. That’s a stark reversal from 2014, when the Hogs averaged 218 yards per game on the ground, No. 24 nationally.

It shows just how much Arkansas misses senior tailback Jonathan Williams, who will miss at least the entire regular season with a foot injury suffered in August. While junior tailback Alex Collins also rushed for 1,100 yards last year (just behind Williams’ team-leading 1,190-yard total), Williams’ absence means the entire rushing game rests on Collins’ shoulders.

Saturday, that wasn’t such a good thing. Collins carried 20 times but managed just 54 yards and a touchdown, a paltry 2.7 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, Razorbacks' quarterback Brandon Allen threw for 412 yards. He set career highs for both yards and attempts (he threw 45 times for 296 yards in last fall’s 45-32 loss to Georgia). But such stats go against Bielema’s ethos: i.e., winning with a pounding run game.

A late-game series sums up Arkansas’ run-game issues. With just over three minutes left, the Razorbacks drove inside the Toledo 10 trailing 16-10. This was the exact time for the run game to take over and pound the ball home, right?

On 1st-and-goal from the Toledo 4, Allen threw into the end zone incomplete. On second down, he gave it to Collins up the middle, and Collins pushed near the goal line. But, wait: A holding flag.

That pushed Arkansas back 10 yards, nullifying the ground game’s impact. On 4th-and-goal from the 7, Allen targeted Hunter Henry at the back of the end zone, but his pass hit the crossbar, ending the threat with nothing to show for it.

Given Bielema’s history, the series didn’t make a lot of sense, and Arkansas ultimately paid. We’ll see how quickly the offense learns from what is certainly a teaching moment.

Now, the real fun starts for the 1-1 Hogs. Next up? A home game with a potent Texas Tech offense, followed by a matchup against Texas A&M at neutral-site AT&T Stadium in Dallas and road trips to Tennessee and Alabama. There are no gimmes left on the schedule until a Halloween matchup with FCS foe UT-Martin, last seen on the wrong end of a 76-3 blowout at Ole Miss’ hands.

While the league is increasingly pass-oriented, a strong, physical offense, like the one Arkansas displayed in 2014, can still be successful.

The SEC West is one of college football’s best divisions and certainly its most unforgiving. Unless Arkansas gets back to its offensive foundation, the Razorbacks won’t take a leap forward in 2015 and could even take a big step back.

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Georgia vs. Vanderbilt: Game Grades, Analysis for the Bulldogs

It was not pretty, but the Georgia Bulldogs started off the SEC season right with a 31-14 win over Vanderbilt behind a punt-return touchdown and a pick-six. 

In addition, head coach Mark Richt’s team was able to overcome 92 penalty yards—which included a targeting call that ended Lorenzo Carter’s day in the first quarter—thanks to Nick Chubb’s 189 rushing yards. 

Georgia kept Vanderbilt in the game with numerous mental errors as the Commodores had the ball near the goal line with about five minutes left in the game down 24-14 after a botched pooch kick. Here is a look at how each unit of the team fared Saturday afternoon. 

Pass Offense

Greyson Lambert was downright awful in the first half, and Georgia would have finished with zero passing yards in the first frame if Brice Ramsey had not come in for a series. Richt went back to Lambert, who was much better and finished 11-of-21 with 116 yards after starting out with seven straight incompletions. While Lambert made the unit moderately serviceable in the second half, he will still need to be better if Georgia is going to make a run at an SEC title. 


Run Offense

Chubb and Sony Michel (52 yards and a touchdown) carried the Georgia offense in this game. Overall, the team finished with 281 rushing yards while averaging 6.9 yards per carry against a Vanderbilt defense that basically sold out to stop the run.

Georgia had more trouble rushing in the second half as Chubb and Michel each earned more than 66 percent of their yardage in the first half. We know how good Chubb is, but Michel looks like a dangerous weapon for Georgia. He will steal more carries from Chubb as the year goes on. Also, Lambert scored a touchdown on the ground, which he seemed to appreciate, via Jim Wood, formerly of Bulldawg Blawg: 


Pass Defense

It is hard to evaluate this unit since Vanderbilt quarterback Johnny McCrary made some alarmingly bad decisions with the football that resulted in three second-half interceptions. He finished 24-of-50 with 295 yards and a score.

There were sequences in the second half where Vanderbilt was able to complete a bunch of passes in a row to find itself in the red zone, so Georgia will need to fix some of those coverage lapses. However, the pass rush was sensational, pressuring McCrary all afternoon. Jordan Jenkins led the charge and looks to be a prime candidate for the All-American team. Check out his numbers from today, courtesy of’s Radi Nabulsi: 


Run Defense

Vanderbilt tried to establish the run early, but Georgia was having none of it. The Commodores finished with 105 rushing yards on 2.7 yards per carry. Ralph Webb, one of the more underrated rushers in the SEC, could only muster 68 yards. Quarterback Johnny McCrary broke off some decent runs in the fourth quarter but was ultimately held in check.

The front seven is the strength of this defense, and the unit flexed its muscles with constant pressure in the backfield. Georgina will have a tougher test next week against South Carolina’s Brandon Wilds. 


Special Teams

The 77-yard punt return from Isaiah McKenzie was the highlight of the day for Georgia, which you can see below:

The rest of the day was not pleasant for the Bulldogs’ special teams. A botched play on a Vanderbilt pooch kick near the end of the game could have cost Georgia the game if Vanderbilt had converted. The ball took a bad hop, but the team still needs to recover the ball in such a critical situation. In addition, Marshall Morgan missed a pair of field goals, which is a concern for Georgia. It will need to make its field goals in closer games later in the season. 



The only real coaching decision Richt had to make was whether to remain with Lambert at quarterback. It was the right choice as he played much better in the second half. Otherwise, the team appeared to have a basic scheme on both sides of the ball, given that Georgia was superior to Vanderbilt at every position.

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Toledo vs. Arkansas: Score, Highlights, Twitter Reaction for Rockets' Upset

On a Saturday when Auburn escaped Jacksonville State's upset bid, the 18th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks weren't as fortunate, falling to the Toledo Rockets, 16-12, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Toledo's triumph was among the most impressive in program history—and easily its most notable this decade:

"Obviously they did not disappoint," Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said, according to the Arkansas News Bureau's Eric Bolin. "The only ones disappointed today were us."

Days after Bielema publicly ripped Ohio State for having a weak schedule, those comments came back to bite him, as ESPN's Danny Kanell explained on Twitter: 

According to's Austin Ward, one Buckeyes player celebrated at the expense of Arkansas on Saturday night:    

Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith noted that a couple of Saturday's performances brought the SEC down a peg: 

The Razorbacks (1-1) couldn't muster enough offense during crucial red-zone opportunities to stave off a feisty Toledo team, and it cost them dearly.   

Quarterback Brandon Allen (32-of-53, 412 yards and an interception) worked Arkansas down to the Toledo 4-yard line with over two minutes remaining, but the Razorbacks came up empty on all four chances in a goal-to-go situation with the game on the line. 

A backbreaking holding penalty following a run inside the 1 pushed the Razorbacks to the 14-yard line, and Allen couldn't solve the Rockets secondary from that point on. The team's last gasp following an intentional Toledo safety proved futile.   

"We've really got to look at our red-zone package," Bielema said, per Bolin. "Being able to run the football has to be first and foremost."

The Razorbacks had no problem eating up chunks of yards between the 20s, but the Rockets were actually the more disciplined and efficient side despite the absence of suspended running back Kareem Hunt, who helped Toledo finish 14th in total rushing among all FBS teams last season. 

To wit: Arkansas orchestrated a massive 21-play drive that spanned portions of the third and fourth quarters, but the near-11-minute possession resulted in a field goal that cut Toledo's lead to six, 16-10. 

Penalties also dogged the Razorbacks. In addition to the holding call by the goal line, Jared Cornelius returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown, but an illegal block from Eric Hawkins negated the score. Rushing for 3.3 yards per carry on 31 attempts didn't exactly help matters either. 

On the flip side, Toledo (1-0) was starving to get into the scoring column after its season opener against Stony Brook was suspended because of severe weather, and it struck first behind the arm of quarterback Phillip Ely.

A five-yard strike from the signal-caller to wide receiver Corey Jones gave Toledo an early 6-0 lead, but Arkansas was able to respond. A 21-yard touchdown scamper from running back Alex Collins briefly thrust the Razorbacks ahead before Toledo tacked on a 38-yard field goal shortly before halftime.   

An 11-yard touchdown run from Damion Jones-Moore (10 carries, 61 yards) with just over five minutes left in the third quarter proved to be the difference.

Ely went on to finish with 237 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-37 passing, which was huge considering Toledo mustered just 2.2 yards per carry sans Hunt.  

The Rockets will face another Power Five test next week when Iowa State comes to town, but Toledo should be confident knowing it can hang with a team previously revered as a sleeper in the SEC West. 

Bielema's boys will need to right the ship next weekend at home against Texas Tech before their SEC schedule gets underway. But if they can't, the Razorbacks could be in for a rude awakening. From Sept. 26 to Oct. 24, Arkansas is slated to square off against Texas A&M, Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn in consecutive games, with the first three contests coming on the road. 

That's a recipe for disaster. 

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The Deadline for Urban Meyer to Settle Ohio State's QB Competition

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A routine, out-of-conference shutout for the nation's No. 1 team rarely leaves it facing such uncertainty.

But following Ohio State's 38-0 win over Hawaii on Saturday, the biggest question in college football remains unanswered.

Who is Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes' top option at quarterback?

"I can't recall in major college football history when I remember witnessing something like this," the head coach said after the game. "Where you have two good guys."

Only on Saturday, neither Cardale Jones nor J.T. Barrett lived up to their billings as two of the country's top signal-callers, inconsistencies plaguing each in their respective time on the field. Jones got the starting nod for the second straight game, but was pulled midway through the second quarter after a 6-for-9, 82-yard passing performance only netted seven points for Ohio State's typically high-powered offense.

In his absence, Barrett didn't fare much better, completing just five of his 12 pass attempts for 41 yards in the first half, leading the Buckeyes on a 35-yard scoring drive after a Rainbow Warriors interception put Ohio State in Hawaii territory.

At halftime, Meyer turned back to Jones as the quarterback carousel in Columbus continued.

The Buckeyes offense continued to look sluggish in the second half, scoring 17 points while being aided by a strong effort and even a touchdown from its defensive counterpart. Given the quick turnaround following last Monday's win over Virginia Tech, the sloppy outing was understandable—if not expected—and was also due in part to an underwhelming performance from the OSU offensive line.

"We did not protect very well today," Meyer admitted. "We have to get that fixed."

But while Meyer is often adamant that the quarterback is a "product of those around him," neither Jones nor Barrett did much Saturday to distinguish himself from the other with their individual play. Jones directed the offense for the majority of the second half, but Barrett took over the OSU offense with just more than five minutes remaining in the game, helping to lead the Buckeyes on a 45-yard touchdown drive that Jones actually started due to a miscommunication on the sideline.

On the day, Jones completed 12 of his 18 pass attempts for 111 yards. Barrett, meanwhile, completed eight of his 15 passes for 70 yards.

Neither quarterback threw a touchdown or an interception on the afternoon. Neither managed to muster much on the ground either, a staple at the position in Meyer's spread offense.

After the game, Meyer remained noncommittal when it came to his quarterback conundrum.

"I have to self-evaluate and make sure we're doing the right thing by those guys," he said. "I'll have more answers for you after I think it through and watch the film."

It's worth noting—again—that the Buckeyes did win the game in blowout fashion and did so by relying on a heavy dose of running back Ezekiel Elliott. The preseason Heisman Trophy favorite totaled 101 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, despite not having a reliable passing game to assist him.

And with the schedule Ohio State has ahead of it, which may not see the Buckeyes truly challenged until a Nov. 21 date with Michigan State in Columbus, the reality is that Meyer may not have to make a call on who his No. 1 quarterback is anytime soon.

Because while both Jones and Barrett maintained in the preseason that they would prefer to not play in a two-quarterback system this fall, Ohio State's overwhelming talent advantage against the remainder of its schedule has bought Meyer time when it comes to college football's most talked about quarterback competition.

Jones admitted after the Buckeyes' season-opening win over the Hokies that he was yet to feel like his team's solidified starter, and on Saturday that sentiment remained.

"Yeah, of course," Jones answered when asked if he felt like Ohio State's quarterback battle was ongoing. "In my opinion, that's good, because we're going to keep each other razor sharp, week in and week out."

But sooner or later—whether it's in an unexpected early season battle against the Spartans, in the Big Ten title game or even the College Football Playoff—the Buckeyes are going to need to know who their top signal-caller is. On Saturday, that would've been easier said than done, as neither passer played as well as he did during Ohio State's run to the national title a season ago.

"Our execution is not where it needs to be," Meyer said of Jones and Barrett.

And until it is, it's clear the quarterback competition in Columbus will continue.


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Introducing Notre Dame's New Hero, Sophomore QB DeShone Kizer

From a hat to a helmet to a heave, DeShone Kizer rescued Notre Dame football from itself and the perils of early-season inadequacy.

The sophomore signal-caller stepped in with an emergency relief appearance that lifted the No. 9 Irish past Virginia, 34-27, on Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Standing on the sideline at Scott Stadium in his red camouflage baseball cap with the Notre Dame monogram, Kizer went about his backup quarterback duties as a redshirt sophomore, and starting quarterback Malik Zaire struggled to find his rhythm in the second half against Virginia.

But when Zaire’s right ankle got caught between a pair of Cavalier defenders and turned eyeballs away from screens across ND nation, Kizer, who grabbed the No. 2 quarterback job over highly touted true freshman Brandon Wimbush in the fall, shed the hat of the “Red Army” and readied for duty.

Kizer, who hails from Toledo, Ohio, and earned his first game experience with the Irish in the fourth quarter of Notre Dame's Week 1 drubbing of Texas, was needed.

Nearly a full quarter later, after Cavaliers quarterback Matt Johns picked apart Notre Dame’s defense and orchestrated a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that handed Virginia the 27-26 lead with a minute and 54 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, Kizer stood on the sideline, helmet by his side, shook hands with right tackle Mike McGlinchey and spoke to his offensive line before taking the field.

With three timeouts, 80 yards and a season of high expectations in play, Kizer went to work. He found Will Fuller on a comeback pattern for eight yards. Two incompletions later, he plunged four yards up the middle on 4th-and-2 and kept the Irish alive.

With the ball at Notre Dame’s 32, Kizer zipped a throw on a crossing route to Corey Robinson for 11 yards. Then, the big redshirt sophomore scrambled to his right, prolonged the play and dumped off an if-all-else-fails checkdown to C.J. Prosise across his body for 17 yards and legitimate hope.

Then, on 2nd-and-9 from Virginia’s 39-yard line with 20 seconds remaining, Kizer took the snap, and with his heels at midfield, he launched a gorgeous high-arcing throw down the left sideline into the waiting mitts of Fuller at the goal line for the go-ahead score.

Kizer streaked down the field, arms stretched high, to meet his teammates in the end zone. A few minutes later, Notre Dame cemented the 34-27 win over the Cavaliers to improve to 2-0.

As Zaire’s then-uncertain injury loomed—head coach Brian Kelly announced after the game that Zaire is out for the season with a fractured ankle—and Notre Dame’s defense lapsed, Kizer, along with Fuller, pulled through. The Irish fended off Virginia’s upset bid and escaped Charlottesville.

Of course, Kizer is now tasked with being more than a one-hit hero for Notre Dame. He’ll step into the starting role and direct the Irish in upcoming matchups against Georgia Tech, Clemson, USC and Stanford.

If Notre Dame is to stick true to its preseason script and chase a chance at the playoffs, Kizer will need to rise to the occasion—again.

The Irish have been down this road before. In 2012, some redshirt freshman starter named Everett Golson quarterbacked Notre Dame to the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama. Golson, though, wasn’t rushed into duty. And Kelly, when he was at Cincinnati in 2008, was forced to use five quarterbacks. All the Bearcats did was win 11 games and reach the Orange Bowl, setting the stage for Kelly's jump to South Bend a year later.

Those stories ended with trips to marquee games at the end of the season. Maybe Notre Dame's trek will end similarly in 2015. Maybe it won't.

But the story starts with a heroic heave by Kizer.


All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Mike Monaco is the lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

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Alabama vs. Middle Tennessee: Game Grades, Analysis for the Crimson Tide

The No. 2 Crimson Tide made quick work of Middle Tennessee, shaking off a slow start to blow out the Blue Raiders by a 37-10 margin.

Led by its elite running backs and a defense that forced four turnovers, head coach Nick Saban's team mostly looked ready for next week's showdown with Ole Miss. However, the quarterbacks' performance should worry Saban heading into the toughest part of the season.

Passing Offense: Jacob Coker and Cooper Bateman were both unimpressive in this one. Coker's stats were greatly padded by a 68-yard shovel pass to Kenyan Drake, and his field vision left much to be desired. The same goes for Bateman, who also benefited from Drake's elusiveness and threw an interception that would've been returned 100 yards by an SEC defensive back. This grade is made mostly by Drake and tight end O.J. Howard.

Rushing Offense: It was a painfully slow start for Drake and Derrick Henry on the ground, but both picked it up considerably. Henry turned in his second-straight, three-touchdown performance, breaking loose in the second half to turn it into a blowout. Freshman Damien Harris showed off his vast array of tools in mop-up duty.

Passing Defense: Marlon Humphrey and Eddie Jackson each forced fumbles, and Cyrus Jones picked off a pass when the Tide began to surge in the second quarter. This group also started slow but asserted its will in frustrating MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill into 4.1 yards per attempt.

Rushing Defense: The Blue Raiders averaged less than three yards per carry, and no player on the team ran for more than 30 yards. This group isn't 2011-good, but it'll get the job done.

Special Teams: The group blocked a punt for a safety, and the return game was solid throughout the afternoon. Calvin Ridley committed a catch interference, and Adam Griffith somehow managed to miss two more field goals.

Coaching: You would have liked to see the team come out a little faster. Once the second quarter hit, Saban got his guys playing sound football, and they predictably dominated. He has his hands full at quarterback, though, and might want to think about just committing to one guy to instill some confidence.

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LSU vs. Mississippi State: Live Score and Highlights

LSU 14, Mississippi State 6—Mid-3rd Quarter

No. 25 Mississippi State hosts 14th-ranked LSU in Starkville on Saturday night. 

You can watch the game live on ESPN, but make sure to stay right here for live scoring updates, detailed analysis and the best postgame coverage around.

You can find the official box score at

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Malik Zaire Injury Update: Notre Dame QB Out for Season with Fractured Ankle

Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Zaire suffered a fractured ankle in the third quarter of the team's 34-27 win over Virginia on Saturday.

Continue for updates.

Injured Ankle Puts Zaire Out for Year Saturday, September 12

Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated reported Zaire's status, which will lead the Irish to lean on DeShone Kizer to run their offense.   

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel alluded to how Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has dealt with a similar situation before:

Kizer was thrust into duty when Zaire went down and didn't provide an immediate spark. He did lead a game-winning drive and tossed a 39-yard touchdown strike to Will Fuller with 12 seconds left to secure the victory.

Based on how well Kizer performed in crunch time, it stands to reason he can get the job done under center. The quality of competition won't do Kizer any favors as the Irish return to South Bend, Indiana, next week to take on Georgia Tech.

The concept seems self-explanatory to a degree, but it will be key for Kizer to protect the football. Per Fighting Irish assistant PR representative Leigh Torbin, Notre Dame is a perfect 18-0 under Kelly when it doesn't commit a turnover.

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College Football Scores 2015: Key Players from Top 25 Teams' Week 2 Results

The second week of the college football season is not often associated with huge, season-changing upsets. Many teams are still establishing themselves, and the power teams that are often in the upper region of the AP Top 25 often schedule lesser teams that usually can't keep up with a top-tier opponent for 60 minutes.

That was supposed to be the case for No. 6 Auburn as it hosted the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. But the Tigers must not have forwarded the script to the visitors, because Jacksonville State held a 20-13 edge until the final minute of the fourth quarter.

That's when Auburn's Melvin Ray made a leaping 10-yard touchdown reception that allowed the Tigers to tie the score and send the game into overtime. Peyton Barber scored the winning touchdown on a four-yard run in overtime, ending the FCS opponent's bid for an upset.

Few expected No. 9 Notre Dame to have any issues when the Fighting Irish traveled to Virginia to play the Cavaliers. However, the Irish found themselves trailing 27-26 with 1:54 remaining when running back Albert Reid pounded into the end zone from one yard out.

It looked bleak for Notre Dame, especially with quarterback Malik Zaire out of the game after he was carted off with an ankle injury in the third quarter. On the final drive, Notre Dame pulled out a 34-27 triumph when backup quarterback DeShone Kizer threw a 39-yard TD pass to Will Fuller with 12 seconds remaining.

After the game, Irish coach Brian Kelly revealed that Zaire had fractured his ankle and would be out for the season.

Top-rated Ohio State had an easy time of it against Hawaii. The Buckeyes hosted and overpowered the Rainbow Warriors 38-0. Quarterback Cardale Jones made his first start at Ohio Stadium and was ordinary (12-of-18 for 111 yards), but Heisman Trophy candidate Ezekiel Elliott dazzled with 27 carries for 101 yards and three touchdowns.

No. 2 Alabama had little trouble in its 37-10 triumph over Middle Tennessee. While a 27-point win over the Blue Raiders won't impress head coach Nick Saban, running back Derrick Henry gained 96 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns.

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU: 18-of-27, 285 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT

There were no dramatics in TCU's 70-7 rout of Stephen F. Austin. However, the victory was notable because Trevone Boykin showed off his powerful arm and quick release in throwing for 285 yards and four touchdowns. 

The Horned Frogs jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and that's when Boykin took over. He fired three TD passes in a span of five minutes, 23 seconds bridging the first and second quarters.

While Boykin won't win the Heisman Trophy in one-sided victories against overmatched opponents, he showed off his ability to string touchdowns together quickly, and that's one of the reasons he is likely to be a major factor in the award race throughout the season.

Trevone Boykin: 60 career passing touchdowns, joining Andy Dalton (71) as the only players to reach that threshold in TCU history. #SFAvsTCU

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 12, 2015


Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia: 19 carries for 189 yards

The Georgia Bulldogs went on the road to play their first SEC opponent of the season and rolled to a 31-14 victory.

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs may have some work to do with their passing game if they are going to climb higher in the rankings, but it's difficult to find fault with their running attack. Nick Chubb is the best of their stable, and he torched the Commodores with his power and agility.

Chubb finished the game with an average of 9.9 yards per carry, and he had a long run of 68 yards. While he did not make it into the end zone, Vanderbilt had no way to control his explosive running.

68-yard run by Nick Chubb gets Dogs into Vandy territory. stepped out on 23.

— AJC UGA (@ChipTowersAJC) September 12, 2015


Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss: 20-of-25, 346 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT

The Rebels wasted no time in letting Fresno State know there was no chance for an upset as they jumped out to a huge first-quarter lead before running away to a 73-21 victory.

Ole Miss broke 70 points for the second consecutive week, and Chad Kelly was razor-sharp in leading the offense. He won a close three-man race for the No. 1 quarterback position, and head coach Hugh Freeze has apparently made the correct decision.

Kelly has been decisive, consistent and explosive in the pocket for the Rebels. He is the nephew of former Buffalo Bill quarterback Jim Kelly.

Chad Kelly becomes 1st SEC QB since Johnny Manziel in 2012 to be responsible for five touchdowns in a half.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2015

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Notre Dame vs. Virginia: Game Grades, Analysis for the Fighting Irish

Notre Dame escaped the upset bid by Virginia thanks to a touchdown reception by Will Fuller with just 12 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.  But it was the quarterback who threw the ball—DeShone Kizer—who was the surprise of the day in the 34-27 win.

Starting quarterback Malik Zaire was lost in the third quarter to what appeared to be a serious ankle injury.  While the Notre Dame faithful held its collective breath, Virginia continued to put pressure on the Irish, eventually retaking the lead with just less than two minutes remaining in the game.

It was the inexperienced sophomore Kizer who led the Irish down the field for the game-winning touchdown, and he's just one piece in Saturday's puzzle of Notre Dame's game grades.

Here is the box score, via

Notre Dame Pass Offense

Zaire put together a middling performance—at best—in the first half, completing just five of his 13 passes for 45 yards.  We hate to hand out such a low first-half grade to a guy who may have seen his last action of the season, but a C-minus might be as generous as we can be, all things considered.

Things picked up—both for Zaire, until his injury, and for his replacement Kizer—in the second half, and combined, the two Irish slingers finished with 207 yards and three passing touchdowns on a 15-of-30 performance.

Fuller continued to showcase his amazing speed and catching ability, hauling in five receptions for a whopping 124 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning 39-yard grab in the waning seconds.


Notre Dame Run Offense

If you though last week's loss of starting rusher Tarean Folston spelled doom for the Notre Dame running attack, you obviously weren't considering what C.J. Prosise brings to the table at halfback.

Prosise gashed the UVA defense to the tune of 155 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.  The team as a whole finished with 253 yards on the ground.

While we were definitely impressed with Prosise, we do still have some concerns with Notre Dame's ability to pick up short yardage on the ground on third down.  Notre Dame was 0-of-10 on third-down conversions, many of them four yards or fewer.  Moving forward, those conversions will be a required part of any path to victory.


Notre Dame Pass Defense

It's hard to look at Virginia quarterback Matt Johns' passing performance (26-of-38 for 289 yards and two touchdowns) and get excited if you're a Notre Dame fan.  Despite absolutely shutting down Texas, the Irish looked completely lost, at times, in the secondary.  Johns was efficient at picking apart the defense, at one point completing 10 straight throws during the second and third quarters.

The Irish did a nice job of limiting yards after catch, but allowing a whole range of intermediate passes over the middle is definitely going to upset the defensive coaching staff when they review film of this outing.

A bring spot in the passing game was, not surprisingly, the pass rush. Notre Dame's front seven is capable of matching up against any offensive front in the nation, and not every quarterback will be as capable under constant pressure as Johns was on Saturday.

Still, an impressive effort from the front seven isn't enough to inspire us to hand out any awards.


Notre Dame Run Defense

Somewhat surprisingly, Virginia had a much easier time running on the Notre Dame defense than Texas did a week ago.

After limiting the Longhorns to just 60 ground yards, Notre Dame gave up 127 on 30 UVA attempts (a not-so-good 4.2 yards-per-carry average).

As mentioned, Notre Dame's front seven is stout.  The run defense doesn't appear to be a weak link in the team's armor.  And with playmakers such as Sheldon Day continuing to prowl the opposition's backfield, Notre Dame's run defense remains in good hands.


Notre Dame Special Teams

From a Notre Dame standpoint, Saturday was a good day for the special teams.  The unreliable kicking game came through with a 2-of-3 performance from Justin Yoon on field goals, and C.J. Sanders delivered in the punt-return department (including a nice 30-yard return in the second half).

The Irish also averaged better than 55 yards per punt on Tyler Newsome's four punts.


Notre Dame Coaching

It's hard to lean on a guy who has just been thrown into the starting role at any position but particularly when that position is running back.  That being said, Prosise appears to have all of the tools necessary to come up with big plays when called upon.

So why didn't Brian Kelly call upon him more often in critical 3rd-and-short situations?

Kelly clearly didn't have a problem leaning on Kizer for a game-winning drive (not that Kelly had much of a choice).

All things considered, Kelly did a fine job of keeping his team in the game after the loss of its leader, Zaire—even if it took better than a quarter to shake it off.  Good coaches find a way to win, regardless of the situation, and Kelly reached deep into his tool chest to find the right combination of players and play calls to eke out a victory.

Further down the line, that could present problems.  But for Saturday, it resulted in a win.


Unless otherwise noted, quotes or references to quotes were obtained firsthand by the writer.

Follow Bleacher Report's National College Football Featured Columnist David Luther on Twitter.

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There's No Doubt TCU QB Trevone Boykin Is 2015 Heisman Front-Runner

Last year's biggest snub from the Heisman Trophy presentation in the Big Apple is undoubtedly this season's early Heisman candidate. 

TCU Horned Frogs gunslinger Trevone Boykin had a monstrous day against Stephen F. Austin in Week 2 with 285 yards and four touchdowns on 18-of-27 passing. Keep in mind, he was removed midway through the third quarter as the Horned Frogs had the game well in hand. They eventually won 70-7.

That performance is fresh off a Week 1 victory against a pesky Minnesota squad in which Boykin racked up 246 yards, added 92 more on the ground and scored two total touchdowns. 

Boykin is the most electrifying playmaker of any team in the Top Five. And yes, that includes the roster full of joystick stars on Ohio State's roster. 

On Saturday, he joined a club only accompanied by Andy Dalton by becoming the second player in TCU history to throw for 60 touchdowns, per ESPN Stats and Info:

What makes Boykin so dynamic is his versatility. Not only is he so athletic that the Horned Frogs once had him listed as a wide receiver on their depth chart, but he is also comfortable in the pocket and can be the traditional, pro-style quarterback when called upon. That was on full display with Boykin's third touchdown pass of the day against Stephen F. Austin:

What's working in Boykin's favor so far is essentially the lack of a developed field, although he would likely deserve to be at the head of the pack regardless. 

Among the other early Heisman contenders are Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, his receiver Braxton Miller, Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire, Georgia running back Nick Chubb and Baylor quarterback Seth Russell. 

The constant on that list is that none of those guys is proven throughout the course of a full season. Yes, Jones won a national title last year, which puts him at No. 2 behind Boykin. But with the 2015 campaign still in its infancy, experience and past successes over the course of entire seasons still carry a bit of weight. 

To add context to that argument, Boykin broke 9,000 career yards of total offense on Saturday and is the nation's leader in that category:

Looking deeper at the other candidates, let's say we live in a world where all those players end up in New York City. Miller and Jones could steal votes away from each other. Chubb's Bulldogs likely won't be contenders in the jam-packed SEC, which hurts his chances. 

Finally, and unfortunately, Zaire could be dealing with a serious injury after being carted off in Notre Dame's Week 2 contest against Virginia. 

On the flip side, Boykin is a healthy signal-caller in a Power Five conference that is known for its high-flying offenses (see Baylor, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State). 

The only true competition he might have is Baylor's Russell, and voters have shied away from Baylor gunslingers recently, as they're starting to be perceived as "system quarterbacks." 

There will also be a litmus test—a head-to-head matchup on Friday, Nov. 27—to settle that argument. 

Boykin has become almost stoic in his approach week in and week out. He shows up, shows out and gets out. Most times with a win. 

According to Frogs O' War, that's exactly what TCU head coach Gary Patterson took away from Saturday's blowout win:

The true Heisman field has yet to settle itself, as the season is still young. But for now, Boykin is head and shoulders above the competition as the current Heisman favorite. 

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Ole Miss Offense on Fire Right Now, but How Will It Fare vs. Alabama Next Week?

Someone forgot to tell Ole Miss that it was "Sluggish Saturday" in college football—especially in the SEC.

On the same Week 2 afternoon that saw Auburn narrowly avoid a devastating loss to FCS foe Jacksonville State and a handful of league teams get off to slow starts, the Rebels played their best offensive ball in school history.

Ole Miss' 73-21 beatdown of Fresno State in Oxford was a direct carryover from last week's 76-3 trouncing of UT-Martin. Forget about another slow start for a SEC team. The Rebels broke program records Saturday.

The Rebels had 608 total yards against Fresno State, a team that went to a bowl game last season and played in the Mountain West Championship Game. Six different players found the end zone on offense, including do-it-all defensive star Robert Nkemdiche.

Hey, when you're firing on all cylinders offensively, everyone wants to get involved.

And Ole Miss' best-ever offensive groove couldn't come at a better time—leading right into next Saturday's road game against No. 2 Alabama.

The Crimson Tide will be an exponentially tougher defensive matchup than the ones from UT-Martin and Fresno State, of course.

But any preseason question one had about the Ole Miss offense has been answered emphatically in the first two games of the season.

In his first two career starts at Ole Miss, quarterback Chad Kelly has been a confident and extremely efficient replacement for Bo Wallace.

The Rebels saw both "Good Bo" and "Bad Bo" heading into the upset win over Alabama last season. He had 11 touchdown passes against Boise State, Vanderbilt, UL-Lafayette and Memphis, but he also had six interceptions.

Aside from an interception against UT-Martin, they've seen "Excellent Chad."

Kelly was on the money against Fresno State on Saturday, completing 20 of his 25 pass attempts for 346 yards and four touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown, putting himself in elite SEC company at quarterback:

ESPN's Danny Kanell, a former quarterback himself, seemed impressed by the play of Ole Miss' offense Saturday with Kelly leading the way.

An in-form Kelly and a deep group of talented targets—nine players recorded receptions Saturday—will be key for the Rebels as they attack an Alabama defense that has its biggest question marks in the secondary.

An inconsistent Wallace threw for three touchdowns against the Tide last season after a shaky performance against Memphis the week before.

Even without star left tackle Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss hasn't allowed an opponent to sack Kelly yet. If that experienced line, with or without Tunsil's talents, can continue to keep Kelly upright as it heads into Tuscaloosa, the Rebels should be in fantastic shape.

The front five has also paved the way for some much-needed rushing success in the first two games of 2015.

Ole Miss averaged 9.39 yards per carry in the rout of UT-Martin last week. On Saturday, it averaged 6.3 yards against Fresno State.

Again, those two opponents can't even compare to Alabama's defensive front.

But it's worth noting that those two rushing performances have been some of Ole Miss' best in almost three years. According to, Ole Miss hasn't averaged more than six yards per carry in back-to-back games since 2007.

These first two games have been complete routs, but they've also served as momentum builders for an Ole Miss rushing attack that has averaged fewer than five yards per carry in each of the last four seasons.

On Nkemidche's one-yard touchdown rumble, Parrish Alford of the Daily Journal noted how strong the Ole Miss offensive line looked up front:

The Rebels will need to be able to move the chains on the ground away from home against Alabama. So far this season, they've shown excellent improvement in that category.

Next Saturday's epic rematch in Bryant-Denny Stadium will pit a pair of SEC West powerhouses that have recorded back-to-back emphatic victories to start the season as others have been less-than-impressive.

Alabama will be motivated in another one of Nick Saban's patented revenge games, and the defense will most likely be the best Kelly and the Rebels will face all season—especially after the Tide's strong performance against MTSU.

Playing in a hostile environment against the defending SEC champion is completely different from two massive nonconference routs inside the comfort of your own stadium.

But it's hard to head into Tuscaloosa with more momentum and more confidence than the Rebels offense.

With the way its uptempo offense is clicking and with the matchup problems it can cause Alabama once again, Ole Miss will be a trendy upset pick next Saturday.


All stats courtesy of unless otherwise noted. Recruit rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

Justin Ferguson is a college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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Notre Dame vs. Virginia: Score, Highlights, Twitter Reaction for Near-Upset

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish's football season was nearly turned upside down Saturday, but they overcame a two-point halftime deficit to top Virginia in a gritty 34-27 victory.

Cavaliers quarterback Matt Johns orchestrated a 13-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Albert Reid's one-yard touchdown run with one minute and 54 seconds left in the game. That put Virginia up 27-26 and appeared to secure an upset in Charlottesville.

But Johns' counterpart, DeShone Kizer, stole the show. Filling in for an injured Malik Zaire, Kizer took a while to get acclimated to the high-stakes situation, but he saved his best for last in tossing a remarkable 39-yard TD pass to Will Fuller with 12 seconds on the clock.

Elite 11 had the footage of Kizer's magnificent throw:

ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how tremendous Fuller was as he also had a 59-yard trip to paydirt off a Zaire bomb at the 7:04 mark of the third quarter:     

CBS Sports CFB captured a perfect fan reaction to the Kizer-to-Fuller connection:

"We made a play when we needed to late. ... We made one more play at the end," said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly to ABC afterward (h/t Bleacher Report's Mike Monaco), adding, "If Malik can't go, DeShone's gonna be the guy we're gonna rally around."

Zaire was in the process of leading a second-half surge for Notre Dame, which trailed 14-12 at the half. Unfortunately, he went down with a severe ankle injury toward the end of the third quarter. Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports weighed in on the situation as Zaire was carted off:

Although C.J. Prosise took a handoff and scored a 24-yard TD the play after Zaire went down to put Notre Dame up 26-14 with 54 seconds left in the third, the quarterback's absence deflated the Irish offense initially.

Zaire's replacement, Kizer, was hardly utilized prior to the final drive. The Irish had no choice but to hope he would turn it on—and he did. Kizer extended plays with his feet and made the timely TD pass to save Notre Dame's year for now.

ESPN's Trent Dilfer had kind things to say regarding how composed Kizer remained under the extraordinary circumstances:

Prosise did well taking over feature back duties, gashing Virginia for 155 yards rushing on 17 carries.

After a season-opening 38-3 romp over the Texas Longhorns to move up to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, Notre Dame saved itself from being bounced from the College Football Playoff picture. If Zaire is unable to return reasonably soon, the Irish will have to count on Kizer to build on his late-game heroics at Scott Stadium.

To Virginia's credit, it bounced back from a loss to another tough opponent in UCLA to start its 2015 campaign and could have easily won this contest. Johns held up well under intense pressure down the stretch and looks to be coming into his own in his second year under center for the Cavaliers.

A tough home matchup against Georgia Tech looms next for Notre Dame. The Irish had enough trouble against an unranked opponent Saturday and will face the unenviable challenge of stopping the Yellow Jackets' prolific rushing attack while dealing with an uncertain situation under center.

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Oregon vs. Michigan State: Live Score and Highlights

The first game of the season with significant College Football Playoff implications is set to take place in Spartan Stadium as No. 5 Michigan State hosts No. 7 Oregon in a prime-time showdown.

The Spartans are looking for revenge after last year’s disappointing loss, when they traveled to Eugene and got bulldozed by Oregon in the second half before falling 46-27. The Spartans are the more experienced team this time around, returning 14 starters to Oregon’s 12, and they’ll have the benefit of home-field advantage tonight.

Will Michigan State get even, or will Oregon once again be too much to handle? We’ll find out when game action kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

We’ll be watching the matchup, providing live analysis as the action unfolds.

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Vernon Hargreaves III Injury: Updates on Florida Star's Knee and Return

Head coach Jim McElwain hopes to spur a major turnaround for the Florida Gators in 2015. His job got a little harder after an injury to Vernon Hargreaves III.

Continue for updates.

Hargreaves to Miss Saturday's Game Saturday, Sept. 12

According to Mark Long of the Associated Press, the standout cornerback will be unavailable for the Gators as he deals with a knee injury. Florida subsequently confirmed the injury, announcing Hargreaves picked up the issue during practice on Thursday.

Over the past couple of years, Hargreaves has grown into one of Florida's most important defensive players. He intercepted three passes in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He also led the SEC in pass breakups (13) in 2014.     

Hargreaves is the kind of defensive back who indirectly impacts a game when he isn't directly impacting it. Opposing quarterbacks shy away from throwing toward his side of the field to avoid courting disaster.

Losing Hargreaves is a blow to the Gators secondary and the defense as a whole.

His absence shouldn't severely damage Florida's chances of beating the East Carolina Pirates on Saturday, but the team will certainly need him when SEC play begins next week against the Kentucky Wildcats.

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Malik Zaire Injury: Updates on Notre Dame QB's Ankle and Return

Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire suffered a fractured ankle against Virginia, ending his season.

Continue for updates.

Zaire Out for Season After Injuring Ankle Saturday, Sept. 12

Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated reported the news on Zaire's ankle. 

Brett McMurphy of ESPN noted Zaire's status when he got hurt, saying he was unable to put weight on his injured ankle as he left the field. 

This is a serious blow for the Fighting Irish if Zaire is forced to miss extensive time. He started the Music City Bowl last season and led Notre Dame to a surprising 31-28 victory over LSU behind 12-of-15 passing for 96 yards, 96 rushing yards and two total touchdowns.

That ability to make plays with his arm and legs had Notre Dame fans thinking College Football Playoff entering the 2015 season. His speed alone puts pressure on opposing defenses, and he proved capable of beating secondaries with his arm during that bowl win.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports gave added context as to what Zaire's absence would mean:

Notre Dame currently sits at No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, and Keith Arnold of pointed out how imperative Zaire’s performance is to keeping this team among the nation’s best:

Ultimately, it’s probably unfair to say it, but Zaire will be the main factor in the Irish’s ability to make it to the four-team playoff. If he’s able to limit mistakes and trigger the running game, this team will be hard to stop. But if he plays like a first-year starter and struggles to get the passing attack started, it’ll be an opportunity lost.

Alas, the Fighting Irish will likely turn to DeShone Kizer until Zaire is ready to return to the field.

Kizer has the size at 6’5” and the athleticism to make plays with his legs and escape pressure in the pocket, and he boasts a strong arm when looking downfield. What’s more, Notre Dame has a loaded offensive line and a set of skill players who should take the pressure off of the backup.

C.J. Prosise and Tarean Folston figure to carry the load at running back, and few teams in the country can match the depth at wide receiver. Will Fuller tallied 1,094 receiving yards in 2014, and Corey Robinson, Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle are veteran playmakers who should give Kizer options if Fuller is covered.

Notre Dame has a number of impressive players on its offense, and Kizer boasts solid upside. But this is a team that had national championship aspirations at the start of the year largely because of Zaire’s potential.

They may stay afloat and finish with a solid record, but it is difficult to envision the Fighting Irish making the College Football Playoff without their starting quarterback if he misses significant time.

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Kentucky vs. South Carolina: Live Score and Highlights

South Carolina 7 Kentucky 7 - Early First Quarter

The Gamecocks are taking on the Wildcats on the SEC Network, so stay tuned for more updates, commentary and analysis throughout this divisional clash, and check out the box score on NCAA

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Oklahoma vs. Tennessee: Live Score and Highlights

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 19 Oklahoma and No. 23 Tennessee crash for a huge out-of-conference showdown in Neyland Stadium on Saturday. 

Check back here for all the live blogging action.


TENNESSEE 17, OKLAHOMA 3 3rd Quarter

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Michigan Offense Slowly but Surely Taking Shape Under Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh can check the "first win" box off his list of goals for his debut campaign with Michigan, as the Wolverines dispatched Oregon State 35-7 on Saturday in Ann Arbor. 

Michigan's offense didn't put up gaudy numbers, but it certainly found its rhythm as the game progressed. The Wolverines slowly and methodically broke down the Beavers, running for 225 yards and four touchdowns. De'Veon Smith led the charge with 126 yards and three scores on 23 attempts (5.5 yards per carry).

Smith was the unquestioned workhorse for Michigan in its home opener, and his patience encapsulated the Wolverines' effort, per Geno Green of College Sports Overload: 

Michigan still experienced growing pains, though. Quarterback Jake Rudock finished with 180 yards and one interception on 18-of-26 passing. Harbaugh, however, blamed himself for the pick, as Michael Spath of reported: 

Perhaps the biggest sign of improvement came from Michigan's offensive line. Not only did the unit pave the way for Smith and Co., but Rudock was sacked just once. 

In the Wolverines' Week 1 loss to Utah, they had just 76 yards on the ground. 

Nick Baumgardner of MLive Media Group illustrated why stiffening up the front line of the offense was such a critical step for Michigan to take in Week 2: 

Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press noted that the offensive line and Smith fed off each other throughout the contest:

As a team, the Wolverines averaged 4.7 yards per carry against Oregon State, a far cry from the 2.6 they averaged against Utah. 

While Rudock didn't have a touchdown pass against the Beavers, he was far more poised under center. Against Utah, he had two scores but three picks. On Saturday, it was just the one interception—which Harbaugh didn't even blame on his signal-caller. 

Nearly every facet of Michigan's play in Week 2 was an upgrade from Week 1. The Wolverines improved their third-down efficiency from 37.5 percent (6-of-16) to 46.2 percent (6-of-13). They had one less turnover (two instead of three), and they won the game. 

Michigan, like it or not, is rebuilding. Saturday's win against Oregon State was a step toward a return to respectable status in the Big Ten. 

The Wolverines, however, also left points on the board early in the game. A slow start won't cut it against teams like Ohio State and Michigan State, two squads that ramp things up early and don't ever turn the pressure gauge down a notch.

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