Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

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Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby BWahlberg » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:23 pm

It’s time to find out how real the 2016 Grizzlies are. The first of two vital road games comes against the pre-season conference favorite, NAU. While the Lumberjacks haven’t had the season they expected so far they’ve won two in a row and reports are they’re getting healthier. They had our number the last time we played in Flagstaff and always give the Griz everything they can. NAU’s defense is in the top third of the conference too, this game will be a major challenge.

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 3-4

13-44 loss @ Arizona State – It was 10-6 ASU into the 3rd quarter in this game. ASU made it 13-6 and then 20-6 just as the 3rd ended. In the 4th they put it away scoring 24 more points. NAU had virtually no running game but did pass for 370 yards.

20-34 loss @ Western Illinois – NAU was looking good early, going up fast 13-3. Then WIU rattled off 24 unanswered points going up 27-13 as the 3rd quarter was almost over. NAU scored to get within 7 but WIU answered to put the game away. NAU’s defense was torched, 200 rushing / 340 passing. WIU also had almost 37:00 of TOP.

73-3 win vs NM Highlands – NAU books these guys a lot. Emmanuel Butler caught 5 TD passes and NAU ran for almost 400 yards in the game.

35-50 loss vs Eastern Washington – It was looking like a dogfight with EWU re-gaining the lead 22-21 with a field goal at the half. However in the 2nd half EWU out-scored NAU 28 to 14 and put the game away. It was still a 1-score game when Case Cookus went out with a shoulder injury in the 3rd. EWU ran for 150 and passed for 400 while NAU passed for 322 themselves. Once subbed in for Cookus, NAU’s backup QB Kemp tossed two costly picks.

18-21 loss @ Northern Colorado – Maybe reeling from the EWU loss and the loss of Cookus the Lumberjacks played a flat game and lost @ UNC. The Bears had a 21-10 lead at the half and from there NAU didn’t get into the endzone until about 2:00 left in the game. NAU lost 3 fumbles and had 2 turnovers on downs. NAU actually had almost 500 yards of offense, their costly turnovers are what did them in.

20-14 win @ Montana State – NAU had a 20-0 lead but had to hang on to win the game, despite 4 bad MSU turnovers. The Cats had just about 280 yards while NAU had about 200 rushing and 200 passing in the game.

52-7 win vs Idaho State – NAU showed more signs of getting things rolling with Kemp at QB, passing for nearly 400 yards in the game as they wrecked the Bengals. NAU continued their ball-hawking ways, forcing 4 more turnovers


General Stats

Major categories
Pass YPG: Montana 341 ypg - NAU 311 ypg
Rush YPG: Montana 147 ypg - NAU 180 ypg
Total YPG: Montana 488 ypg - NAU 491 ypg
Offense PPG: Montana 46.7 ppg - NAU 33 ppg
Defense PPG: Montana 20.2 ppg - NAU 24.2 ppg
Turnover Margin: Montana +/- 0 - NAU +5

Additional categories
TOP: Montana 30:00 - NAU 29:42
Offense Red Zone TD%: Montana 73% - NAU 47%
Defense Red Zone TD%: Montana 50% - NAU 73%
Offense 3rd down %: Montana 45% - NAU 40%
Defense 3rd down %: Montana 27% - NAU 38%
Total Plays per game: Montana 79 - NAU 76

Total statistical advantage Montana 9 to NAU 3. Interesting… maybe the first time I’ve seen Montana have a TOP advantage. Obviously in this game the team that performs better in the red zone will have a huge advantage.

Players to Watch

#8 Emmanuel Butler, WR – The 2nd best WR in the Big Sky behind only Cooper Kupp. Butler has 565 yards and 8 TDs this season so far. He’s got the size to be an NFL WR as well, 6-4 and 220 pounds.

#10 Blake Kemp, QB – Obviously we’re assuming that Cookus doesn’t return for this game (reports are Kemp is still 1st string QB but Cookus is improving). Kemp is a senior transfer QB, at 6-1, 205 he’s got 6 TDs and 3 INTs this season. He’s averaging about 173 a game, but that’s a little deceiving, he’s a good passer. Had 300+ against ISU just last week. He’s also a runner, has about 100 yards this season so far.

#3 Elijah Marks, WR – Marks missed the ISU game, not sure his status for this weekend. If he’s back that’s a MAJOR boost to the passing game. Marks has 570 yards (that’s 5 MORE than Butler) with 1 less game too. He’s got 5 TDs this season. He’s also one of the better kick returners in the Big Sky with a 23.5 YPR average.

#22 Joe Logan, RB – Logan doesn’t get nearly as many touches as NAU’s other back but he’s averaging 8.3 ypc and has 457 yards on just 55 touches, 4 TDs on the ground as well. He’s hauled in a few passes too. This guy is their home-run hitting running back. In recent games he’s far out-touching than their other main back.

#13 Kendyl Taylor, RB – Taylor has 110 carries this season but just about as many yards as Logan with 424 and just 1 TD. Taylor is also 3rd on the team in receptions, with 23 – for 185 yards and 1 TD.

#90 Siupeli Anau, DL – The 6-3, 260 d lineman has 10 TFLs, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 blocked kick. This guy has to be accounted for at all times by the Grizzly O-line.
#11 Jake Casteel, LB – a 5-11, 200 lb linebacker Casteel leads the NAU defense with 48 tackle and 2 TFLs. True to NAU’s defensive style they have a lot of linebackers that share similar stats.

#44 Jake Thomas, LB – A bigger backer at 6-1, 235, he’s 2nd on the team in stops with 42. He’s got 3 TFLS, 1 int, and 1 forced fumble.

#32 Andrew Gose, CB – A 5-11, 160 corner Gose leads the team in PBU’s with 7. He’s also got 1 iNT. And he’s actually 4th best in tackles with 34.

Keys to a Grizzly Victory

- Keep the Red Zone efficiency rolling. The Griz on offense and defense are exceptional once in the RZ, while NAU is the opposite. These stats suggest both teams will get their yards inbetween the 20s, but who performs best once into the RZ could win the day.

- Win the turnover margin. This NAU defense has been a damn challenging thing for many Griz teams. We saw the Griz have issues with a similar-ish defense in SFU and UNI as well. NAU loves to force turnovers and has a very healthy turnover margin, especially due to forced fumbles. The Griz HAVE to take care of the ball.

- No missed PATs. It’s ok to miss a few in blowout wins, leaving a few points off the board in this game could come back to haunt the Griz.

- Keep the balanced attack going and control the pace of the game. There’s times Stitt wants to go fast and there’s other times he wants to dominate the LOS and have Calhoun grind the opponent down. Keep that moving and let the ground game help the passing game out. NAU’s aggressive defense needs to stay off-balanced.

- Keep Brady from getting wrecked. The SFU and UNI games he got beat up a little too much and it really seemed to mess with the passing game. Each week it seems there’s costly sacks on him too. The O-line is facing off against a very good individual D-lineman and overall a good front-7.

- Live in confusion. The Grizzly offense seems to be adding more and more each week. They have to make scouting them a real pain in the ass. Continuing to expand and execute this offense will help keep NAU off-balance. SUU got to the point where they didn’t know what to do – we need a repeat of that this week.

- Have the safeties come ready for their biggest challenge yet. Cookus or Kemp this is the most talented offense we’ll have seen. The safeties are going to need to give help to the corners as needed, watch NAU’s big time running back Logan, and be the last line of defense when the NAU QB gets outside of the pocket. NAU I’d bet is going to try to get these guys out of position to try to open up deep throws in 1-on-1 coverage against the corners. Need to prevent that from happening much, if at all.

-------------------

Games in Flagstaff are never fun or relaxing for a Griz fan. There’s the team adjustment to the altitude, the usually wild setting in their dome when Montana is there. And the unknown now of Cookus and/or Marks returning. NAU loves to keep those injuries real close to the vest.

Some fans are suggesting this game should be easy because of how NAU’s played surprisingly poor out the gate, compared to their pre-season rankings. Others think it’ll be easy especially if Cookus is out. However this team is very well balanced and pretty well run, with real talent on both sides of the ball. This game is huge for the Griz to keep rolling, and huge for NAU as it’ll get them back to .500 ball and keep them in the very faint hunt for a playoff at-large berth.

This one should go down to the wire. Riding off the confidence of some huge wins I’ll say the Griz start a little slow but finish strong, winning 48-38.

GO GRIZ!
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby George Ferguson » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:28 pm

Cookus will play. I never doubted he would. Great players always make it back to play the Griz. lol

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby G-BEARS » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:15 am

Add #25 Kamron Johnson -Safety- to the players to watch list. Not because he's a statistical leader, but him switching his verbal from the Griz to NAU last minute opened the door for the Calhoun's to come here if I remember correctly.

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby skizm_ » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:41 am

BWahlberg wrote:#8 Emmanuel Butler, WR – The 2nd best WR in the Big Sky behind only Cooper Kupp. Butler has 565 yards and 8 TDs this season so far. He’s got the size to be an NFL WR as well, 6-4 and 220 pounds.

#3 Elijah Marks, WR – Marks missed the ISU game, not sure his status for this weekend. If he’s back that’s a MAJOR boost to the passing game. Marks has 570 yards (that’s 5 MORE than Butler) with 1 less game too. He’s got 5 TDs this season. He’s also one of the better kick returners in the Big Sky with a 23.5 YPR average.

Good scouting report. We expect JR Nelson back. How do you see that matchup panning out, assuming he's covering #8?
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby NorthEndZoneDan » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:48 am

thanks BW, great write up. the key to me, in looking at the stats it seems like sacks jump out. I think this could be yuuuuge since I dont see them getting to Brady and I see our D getting to who ever is QB.
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby Diesel » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:28 am

Thanks for the scouting report. The teams in the BSC are so hard to gauge. How teams match up and then the emotional ties with former coaches and common recruits.

Looking forward to this game. Go Griz!

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby dupuyer griz » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:44 am

What kind of shape is JR Nelson in? Will they put him on the 2 or 3 receiver to get him in the flow of things?


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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby RobGriz » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:45 am

havgrizfan wrote:Cookus will play. I never doubted he would. Great players always make it back to play the Griz. lol

Not saying you're wrong but AJ reported that he still isn't practicing. He's been out a LONG time to just jump in and take over. Just my $.02
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby zengriz » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:15 am

...griz are every teams super bowl...
...that will never be so evident...
...saturday nite in flagstaff...

... 8-) ...

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby BWahlberg » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:46 am

skizm_ wrote:
BWahlberg wrote:#8 Emmanuel Butler, WR – The 2nd best WR in the Big Sky behind only Cooper Kupp. Butler has 565 yards and 8 TDs this season so far. He’s got the size to be an NFL WR as well, 6-4 and 220 pounds.

#3 Elijah Marks, WR – Marks missed the ISU game, not sure his status for this weekend. If he’s back that’s a MAJOR boost to the passing game. Marks has 570 yards (that’s 5 MORE than Butler) with 1 less game too. He’s got 5 TDs this season. He’s also one of the better kick returners in the Big Sky with a 23.5 YPR average.

Good scouting report. We expect JR Nelson back. How do you see that matchup panning out, assuming he's covering #8?


JR is our #1 lockdown corner and I would imagine is just amped to get back to it. Should be incredible to watch these two on Saturday.
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby BWahlberg » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:49 am

dupuyer griz wrote:What kind of shape is JR Nelson in? Will they put him on the 2 or 3 receiver to get him in the flow of things?


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He's listed on depth as starter at corner. He's ready to go and I would think the coaches know how in shape/prepared he is considering they're inserting him right back into his prior spot.
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby mtgrizfankb » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:00 am

BWahlberg wrote:
dupuyer griz wrote:What kind of shape is JR Nelson in? Will they put him on the 2 or 3 receiver to get him in the flow of things?


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He's listed on depth as starter at corner. He's ready to go and I would think the coaches know how in shape/prepared he is considering they're inserting him right back into his prior spot.


Has everyone noticed on TV how JR is always there when the team comes off the field to say congrats and or coach the DBs up? Big time leadership by a bigtime player. I think we have to use JRs size on #8. JR ain't gonna back down from nobody. He has the length to get physical and still go stride for stride with wideouts. He also loves to pin WRs outside the number which makes fades and streaks hard for a QB. I think JR come back and just the right time for us here.
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby mcg » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:21 am

BWahlberg wrote:
dupuyer griz wrote:What kind of shape is JR Nelson in? Will they put him on the 2 or 3 receiver to get him in the flow of things?


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He's listed on depth as starter at corner. He's ready to go and I would think the coaches know how in shape/prepared he is considering they're inserting him right back into his prior spot.


I'm curious as to how JR has been practicing. If he's not first or second string, where has he been practicing? Have the coaches been 'forcing' (for lack of a better word) him into the practice rotation? Seems unlikely as they wouldn't want to take reps from the guys who will play. Has he been on the scout team? Any info?

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby grizzly bob 70 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 11:16 am

BWahlberg wrote:
dupuyer griz wrote:What kind of shape is JR Nelson in? Will they put him on the 2 or 3 receiver to get him in the flow of things?


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He's listed on depth as starter at corner. He's ready to go and I would think the coaches know how in shape/prepared he is considering they're inserting him right back into his prior spot.

I wouldn't take the information listed on depth charts too seriously. Many games are played with those charts.


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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby BWahlberg » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:58 pm

grizzly bob 70 wrote:
BWahlberg wrote:
dupuyer griz wrote:What kind of shape is JR Nelson in? Will they put him on the 2 or 3 receiver to get him in the flow of things?


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He's listed on depth as starter at corner. He's ready to go and I would think the coaches know how in shape/prepared he is considering they're inserting him right back into his prior spot.

I wouldn't take the information listed on depth charts too seriously. Many games are played with those charts.


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Believe me, he's starting
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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby brewskis » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:00 pm

BWahlberg wrote:
grizzly bob 70 wrote:
BWahlberg wrote:
dupuyer griz wrote:What kind of shape is JR Nelson in? Will they put him on the 2 or 3 receiver to get him in the flow of things?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


He's listed on depth as starter at corner. He's ready to go and I would think the coaches know how in shape/prepared he is considering they're inserting him right back into his prior spot.

I wouldn't take the information listed on depth charts too seriously. Many games are played with those charts.


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Believe me, he's starting

I hope we ride him Saturday.....he's a seasoned veteran. Get the rust knocked off QUICK.


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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby MT Jack » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:25 pm

zengriz wrote:...griz are every teams super bowl...
...that will never be so evident...
...saturday nite in flagstaff...

... 8-) ...


This should be considered a badge of honor for the Griz.
Lumberjacks!

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby Bear Axed » Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:42 pm

http://missoulian.com/sports/college/mo ... 3e504.html


Ask a beat writer: Cody Bashore of the Arizona Daily Sun talks NAU football
AJ MAZZOLINI [email protected] Updated 37 min ago 0
Northern Arizona is a hard football team to figure out.

The Lumberjacks were covered in preseason hype as the expected Big Sky Conference champions but have stumbled to a 3-4 record so far this season behind injuries and ineffectiveness.

The Missoulian chatted with Cody Bashore, who covers Northern Arizona athletics as the sports editor at the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, to get a better picture of the Lumberjacks before Saturday's game against Montana.

The Missoulian's questions are in bold with Cody's replies to follow:

***

1. Northern Arizona had such lofty expectations coming into the season. What's the mindset of the team been like after the slow start?

Obviously winning a few games these past two weeks has helped out significantly. Even after the home loss to Eastern Washington, it didn’t seem to be too bad, but that Northern Colorado loss hit the team hard. A turning point is probably too extreme of a statement, but holding onto the win at Montana State allowed the team to keep belief in its postseason hopes. While they know they need some help and must win out to have any chance, the team is in a much better place than it was just a few weeks ago.

2. The injury to quarterback Case Cookus has a lot to do with the struggles. How has the offense changed with Blake Kemp at QB?

I think most notably, the offense lost a bit of its high-powered, deep-passing attack that flashed under Cookus last season. Emmanuel Butler had a strong game last week against Idaho State, but looking at his lines over the past few weeks show the most drastic switch from a year ago. He’s 29 yards off of his average per game from last year and after seven 100-yard games last season, Butler hasn’t broke the century mark since the opener against Arizona State. Butler finished under 70 yards against Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado and Montana State, which he only did once in a full game last year.

They had kept the passing game aimed a little shorter with Kemp, as the senior has been getting the ball out quickly before last week’s game against Idaho State. After averaging 5.9 and 4.9 yards per attempt in his first two starts, the number jumped to 8.6 as Kemp found Butler, Will Morehand and Delshawn McClellon a bit further downfield.

3. Kemp is a senior who transferred in during the offseason. How did he end up in Flagstaff?

Kemp’s journey through college football is an interesting one and he was quite candid about the decision during training camp. After playing with Kendyl Taylor at state powerhouse Hamilton High School, Kemp went to Mesa Community College for two years. He then transferred to East Carolina and redshirted his first year before playing in 11 games last year for the Pirates. With Ruffin McNeill and his staff left go at the end of the year, Kemp decided to leave the program and began to plan for life after football. The Lumberjacks had been interested in Kemp after his redshirt year at East Carolina before he elected to stick around and the two sides connected after his transfer out. Kemp has family at Northern Arizona and his parents attended the school, so there was an instant connection leading him to become a Lumberjack.

4. Like Montana, NAU has a lot of sacks and tackles for loss. What stands out about the Jacks' defensive line?

Taking a closer look at Northern Arizona’s sack total provides a little bit of context. Of the Lumberjacks’ 22 sacks this season, six came against Division II New Mexico Highlands and another 10 have come in the past two weeks against Montana State and Idaho State. In Northern Arizona’s three toughest games, Arizona State, Western Illinois and Eastern Washington, the team has five. So how the pass rush continues its recent success is sure to be crucial to Saturday’s game.

Siupeli Anau’s breakout performance in the past two weeks has been the key to the defense’s rise. Anau recorded three sacks against Montana State, with two forced fumbles and added another 2.5 against Idaho State. Northern Arizona thoroughly believed the Scottsdale Community College transfer would impact its pass rush three years ago and Anau was Big Sky honorable mention in his first season before missing last year with a shoulder injury.

5. NAU ranks in the top five in the Big Sky in most every offensive and defensive statistical category. How can the Jacks have a losing record then?

A small part of Northern Arizona’s statistical rankings is due to its blowout of New Mexico Highlands, as its offense put up nearly 200 more yards than its average and its defense allowed 140 less than that average. However, the most notable reason for the losing record is the team’s minus-6 turnover differential in its two conference losses. Losing three fumbles in a three-point game at Northern Colorado and throwing three picks in the 15-point loss to Eastern Washington may justify the losing record at 3-4.

Additionally, Northern Arizona’s red-zone offense ranks dead last in the Big Sky, scoring on just 22 of 32 opportunities. On the opposite side of the ball, schools have scored on 20 of 22 trips, including 16 touchdowns to the Lumberjacks’ 15 red zone touchdowns. Trading three or zero points for seven has hurt the Lumberjacks just as much as the turnover differential has in its losses.

6. The Griz have struggled recently at Flagstaff, but are the hot team right now. Care to make a score prediction?

The Lumberjacks enter the game as the underdog, with the Griz seeming to be a touchdown favorite from what I can see. The teams haven’t even shared a common opponent yet this season, so it is pretty tough to make any sort of logical guess. I would have to say I think Montana pulls it out 41-34, or something similar to that. The Lumberjacks have started to settle in with Kemp at quarterback, but I think the game would be much different if Cookus was healthy. Northern Arizona’s defense has looked much better in the past few weeks, but it has not faced a unit like Montana’s offense and in the end I think Gustafson is too tough to handle for a team that allowed Eastern Washington’s Gage Gubrud to finish 36 of 57 for 392 yards and another 95 yards on the ground.

***
Obviously I never played the game.... :dance:

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby NAUJacksFan » Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:49 pm

That's an nice breakdown on the teams Brint. Nice job! Your score seems more in line with what I expect.

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Re: Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Scouting Report

Postby Fahque » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:16 pm

RobGriz wrote:
havgrizfan wrote:Cookus will play. I never doubted he would. Great players always make it back to play the Griz. lol

Not saying you're wrong but AJ reported that he still isn't practicing. He's been out a LONG time to just jump in and take over. Just my $.02

He said on here a while back that JR was practicing


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