Resilient Gators fall short against Bulldogs; Georgia wins third-straight over Florida 23-20

By Adam Silverstein
November 2, 2013

The Florida Gators nearly fought all the way back following their worst half of the season but fell just short of a come-from-behind victory on Saturday with the Georgia Bulldogs pulling off a 23-20 victory at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.

Florida (4-4, 3-3 SEC) has now been defeated by Georgia (5-3, 4-2 SEC) in three-straight seasons for the first time since 1987-89. Gators head coach Will Muschamp fell to 0-7 all time in the Florida-Georgia series, losing thrice as a coach and four times as a former Bulldogs player.

After allowing Georgia to score the first 20 points of the game, Florida buckled down and outscored its rival 17-0 in the second half via a mixture of impressive defensive plays and effective offense. Unfortunately for UF, many mistakes were made in both halves and it was too much of a burden for it to overcome.

The Bulldogs bit the Gators early after Florida won the toss and deferred to the second half. Georgia put together a seven-play, 75-yard drive out of the gate including a 25-yard rush and five-yard touchdown run by running back Todd Gurley.

It looked like the Gators were primed to answer back immediately as redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy hit redshirt junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar for a 83-yard reception on UF’s second play. However, Florida stalled and was pushed back on 3rd-and-Goal from the UGA eight after senior WR Solomon Patton committed a personal foul.

The Gators were forced to settle for a 40-yard field goal, but kicker Frankie Velez missed his attempt wide right.


Georgia pounced on the miscue right away as QB Aaron Murphy threw short to Gurley as Florida blitzed, and Gurley turned the ball up the field for a 73-yard score that gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead with 9:19 left in the first quarter.

UGA tacked on a 49-yard field goal after moving 53 yards on nine plays during their next possession and increased its lead to 20-0 at the start of the second quarter with a 27-yard field goal following a six-play, 49-yard drive.

UF was able to respond with their only points of the half, starting its first drive of the second quarter in good field position after a 41-yard return out of the end zone by Patton. The Gators used 21 total yards from freshman RB Kelvin Taylor coupled with an 18-yard reception by Patton to get down to the Georgia 14 before Velez connected on a 31-yard field goal.

On its final possession of the first half, UF was faced with 4th-and-10 from UGA’s 40-yard line. Only trailing by 17 and set to receive the ball after the break, Florida decided to go for it, but Murphy threw incomplete to Dunbar.

The Bulldogs once again took advantage of a Gators mistake by moving down the field in just over a minute – and even converting a 3rd-and-22 on the way – before kicking a half-ending 32-yard field goal.

Florida looked to be in somewhat of an offensive rhythm after the half, riding Taylor and getting an 11-yard conversion to Patton on 4th-and-5 to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt. Redshirt freshman Austin Hardin’s kick was dead-on but two yards short and UF did not come away with any points.

Momentum finally swung in favor of the Gators as redshirt junior nose tackle Leon Orr recovered a dropped lateral thrown by Murray and Florida took over at Georgia’s 14-yard line. Redshirt junior RB Mack Brown gained all 14 of those yards on two carries, rumbling into the end zone for a touchdown.

Tempers flared on the next series when Gurley and Gators sophomore BUCK linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. got into a scuffle. Gurley threw a punch, but it was not seen by the referees and he remained in the game.

On Florida’s next possession after the three-and-out, Murphy evaded a sure-thing sack on third down and handed the ball off to Patton, who was taken down with a horse collar tackle. A second scuffle ensued with referees calling four offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

UF was forced to punt and downed the ball at UGA’s three-yard line. On the very next play, junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy blitzed and sacked Murray in the end zone for a safety, cutting the Gators’ deficit to 11 points.

Florida recovered the ensuing punt at midfield and struck quickly with Murphy rushing on consecutive plays for 25 yards and 14 yards, the second carry ending with a leap over the pylon into the end zone. The Gators decided to go for two and converted with Murphy hitting redshirt sophomore tight end Clay Burton, who was wide open in the middle of the end zone.

Facing 4th-and-1 at their own 39, the Bulldogs called a direct snap to Gurley, who was stopped short by UF redshirt junior LB Neiron Ball. Florida would have taken over in Georgia territory, but Ball took his helmet off after the tackle and a 15-yard penalty was called on UF.

The Gators blew their great opportunity and punted down to the Bulldogs’ 17-yard line.

The Bulldogs then iced the game with a 15-play, 67-yard drive that included four third-down conversions (the last one via penalty) and ate up the final 8:17 of the contest.

Now firmly out of the Southeastern Conference race, Florida will look to save its season from complete failure by earning a bowl berth for the 23rd consecutive year. UF hosts Vanderbilt next Saturday in a game set to kick off at noon.

Photo Credit: A.J. Reynolds/Athens Banner-Herald

52 Comments

  1. SW FL Joe says:

    Pease cost us again. Murphy gashed UGA twice with the read option evening scoring a TD and we go away from it. Instead will kill all momentum with the wildcat

  2. Rich says:

    Another game filled with bad penalties and no discipline. Patton retaliation costs us 3 points (at least an easier try) and the hands to the face sealed the game for Georgia at the end.

    Out coached and out schemed in the first half, and for some reason nobody tackled at all in the first two quarters.

    Muschamp is in a no win situation, with the injuries but to be honest in his 3rd season he has no excuses. We have a 3rd string QB starting and nobody behind him. At the University of Florida. I know Brissett transfered but who didn’t see that coming all season long?

    I like Champ, he’s intense, he’s a hard worker but he is not showing me he’s a game day coach. I don’t care how hard you work. Hell Ron Zook worked super hard and Spurrier played more golf then some pro’s. IT’s how smart you coach/work.

    Tough season, it’s a shame. 4-4 ugh…

    • nugent1021 says:

      actually a good point, and good comparison.
      we should all probably wait a few days before thinking he’s zook. He’s a much much better defensive coordinator than zook.

      But, like you said, the comparisons and approach are very similar.
      The offense is getting worse. Every year. Now we’re literally at the bottom of basically everything NAACF for offense.
      Last year we heard over and over “a win is a win.” Well, a loss is a loss.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Great points, Rich, especially about the “nobody behind Murphy” statement in particular. How are Max Staver and Skyler Mornhinweg “nobody?” Skyler is in his 2nd year in the program. They’re on scholarship, right? How is it that, 8 games into the season, neither one of those guys can play?

      I’m not arguing that Murphy should have been taken out, only that I’m sick of hearing that “no one is behind Murphy.” Mizzou’s Franklin went out with a shoulder injury and a freshmen, Maty Mauk, came in and beat UGA and then handed us our lunch. Why can’t our coaching staff develop scholarship players like that?

  3. Uf_84 says:

    It’s a real sad day. After all these years we have officially become Georgia’s bitch once again. Way to go Mustchoke! You will always be thought of fondly in Athens the way Ray Goof is thought of in Gainesville. You have set us back two decades and it is obvious you are in way over your head. Welcome back to the eighties Gator fans.

  4. Michael Jones says:

    A colossal, unforgiveable, lack of discipline by our football players hurt us bad again. It’s been going on for years and it’s become sickeningly predictable.

    And whoever said Muschamp is a “defensive genius” is certainly no genius himself. The reckless defensive call that allowed Gurley to take the ball to the house on a short pass and insisting on playing DB’s with a 10 yard cushion although we have 3 first round draft choices playing corner is not the stuff of genius.

    Stop blaming Pease for the offense This is Muschamp’s baby. I guarantee you that it’s Muschamp who continues to call for the insanely inept drive killing pussycat formation. Someone once said that Muschamp was saving Burton throwing a pass out of that formation for the right moment. How many right moments is he going to let go by without having Burton throw out of that idiotic throw-away-down pussycat formation?

    Finally, Murphy is a good kid, and a gamer, but as the year has progressed, it is clear why he was not first string. He misses open receivers badly. Almost every catch by our receivers has to be a great catch, even if he’s wide open, and forget hitting the receiver in stride which costs us untold yards after the catch.

    We’re poorly coached. It’s a simple as that. Yeah, with effort and some luck we made it close, but once again we were outclassed on the headsets. The lack of discipline, self-control and sportsmanship (although Gurley is also a real punk who started a lot of the altercations) from our constantly-jawing players, as a Florida alum, is an embarrassment.

  5. Spike says:

    Hey Adam – out of curiosity, does the sec review tape and suspend players for swings and misses)

      • nugent1021 says:

        So I guess I wasn’t the only one that saw gurley punching someone in the face? I think it was first half? I was shocked he could take swings like that and not get thrown out.

        • Michael Jones says:

          Gurley, who is a rare example of a player who is actually less disciplined that ours, definitely took a swing at one of our players. I don’t know whether he connected or not, but I believe that taking a swing is an automatic ejectment. He did it right in front of the officials too. I saw it sitting in my living room. I can’t believe that the officials didn’t see it as well.

  6. g8ter27 says:

    Our guys have no idea what they are doing half of the time. Missing blocks, blocking down field by receivers on a pass, lineman down field on a pass, no discipline, dumb penalties. I hate to say it but the people above on here are right, changes have to be coming.

  7. HardToKillGtr says:

    Our young, to me, Head Coach Will is a good man, with a brilliant defensive football mind. I, like lotsa people who post, think he is still a defensive coordinator who wanted to be a head coach and wear both hats. This is not working out good for anyone. Last year proved to him he could be a good head coach and defense coach at the same time. This year he’s still a head coach with no luck who finds out he is responsible for almost everything that is Gator football. The learning curve is no longer a curve. It’s vertical. I hope he makes a head coach because I love Gator football.

    • Tractorr says:

      UF is to large a stage for on the job training. A coach needs to learn to be a head coach at a smaller school and then move up to a big time program like Florida. Someday Muschamp may be a great head coach but the problem is he is making his mistakes while he is at the helm of an elite program.

      • HardToKillGtr says:

        You’re right, of course. U of FL has to have an exceptional head coach who has already “made his bones” so to speak more than once. There is no learning curve here. Only a vertical line that defensive and offensive coordinators will hit and be exposed as the Asst. Coach they are. I’ll never understand why AD Foley hired an asst. coach. But he did. Mac Brown gave WM the Asst. Coach in waiting title to keep a good defensive coordinator a while longer. It took Saban a long time moving up the ladder to be able to do what he does. It seems Foley took the easy way out hiring WM.

  8. G2 says:

    This coaching staff is not going to get us there, need to clean house and get top coaches at every position. Players are undisciplined, too many missed assignments, stupid penalties ….just not a well coached team.
    After getting blown out in the first half at least it got interesting in the second half but never had any confidence they would actually pull out a win.

  9. Basshole says:

    I was happy to see the Gators fight back in the second half. They showed a lot of heart and for a while there it looked like the team might have quit on Muschamp. I am still of the belief he is a good head coach and next year will be a different story. I know I am in the minority here but I think Muschamp leaving at this time would be bad for the program

    • G2 says:

      Unfortunately I think it gets worse next year as juniors leave early and we will struggle to have a top 10 class coming in. So many highly recruited players here (4 and 5 star), whats the problem? Maybe they are not great evaluators of talent? I know we have had lots of injuries but so has UGA. Looked like they wanted it more in crunch time than we did.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        actually, I think that their strength is recruiting and they are finding great talent. I really felt like as a whole in the game today our players were more talented than theirs. The problem is they don’t seem to be doing a great job of developing that talent. Either they figure it out on their own (Hargreaves, for example), or they don’t (most of the others). I think the only reason it ended up as close as it did was players had some pride and asserted themselves. After the first quarter I thought we were going to end up losing 80-3 or something horrid, and actually made a game out of it. I think talent is not being developed, and I see no sign of how this staff is teaching discipline to these guys. We are one of the most penalized teams in the nation and the penalties we are committing are not “effort” penalties. They are sheer lack of discipline and maturity penalties.

    • Frank says:

      Thank you Bass. All the comment sections have become frenzied shark tanks devouring anything Gator football. Seriously, with the availability of prescription drugs, I wish the majority would take a “chill pill” and leave it alone. You can tell by the comments people are grasping at straws, criticizing every minute detail…My son and I agreed: Why would any coach, in his right mind, come to a program as non-supported by fans who do nothing but criticize. Thanks again for a positive, reasoned perspective. Wish we weren’t in the minority…

      • Ken (CA) says:

        “Grasping at straws”? This coach wasn’t under the microscope, in fact was given leeway because he supposedly came into “empty cupboard of talent”. Which is pretty amazing considering how many of Meyer’s Juniors and seniors were drafted last year. Fans know that last year was a fluke and could easily have been 6-5 as 11-1. Fans have little interest in watching 3 1/2 hours of “grind it out” ball control type of game. That was the bread and butter of the Big 10 in the 50s and 60s and 70s….and players finally started going out west and down south to more interesting games (as well as better climates). They are incredibly frustrated with the direction this program seems to be going and the complete lost look they see in the coaches on the sidelines, and are trying to rationalize some reason, any reason why this is spinning so badly out of control. And all roads lead to the top. Muschamp.

        This may be a strategy to win games, although I don’t really think it will be successful, but it is not a strategy to keep fan interest.

        This style can win if you have some variety and open it up more. The only team with more time of possession than UF is UA. and they are not only far from boring to watch but regularly scoring 30+ or 40+ / game. Muschamp is trying to use that model but doesn’t have the personnel or the creativity that the Bama staff does to develop it.

        • nugent1021 says:

          I don’t agree with the recruiting comment. He brings in talent and can really evaluate it it seems. I think Muschamp is a good defensive coordinator. I think he’s stuck thinking he should have kept Weis’ system and had Pease adapt it (he said as much) so the learning curve wouldn’t be as steep and the players would GET UP TO SPEED QUICKER. I don’t know if it was Pease that sold him on that idea. But, here are the obvious problems with the team:

          1. injuries (for defense only, sorry guys – I believe if Easley were there and POwell had played in the MIssouri game, things may be a little different – if both were there for LSU, who knows) – but who steps in where Easley and Powell were, for next year?

          2. Pease – the offense is getting worse year over year. The play calling is Jeff Bowden-ish.

          I think Muschamp needs to make a change in staff to save himself.
          Now, listen to this though. He’s a good friend with Jimbo Fisher. Jimbo had a few defections in staff last year and then basically the whole staff left. Everyone was thinking “wow, Jimbo can’t retain anyone and no one wants to coach with him.” What if Jimbo decided it was time to rebuild the program, and he decided to get the best staff he could get and cleaned house himself – not the other way around? Sure seems like he ended up on the right side of that coaching change….

          My point? I bet Muschamp goes and talks with Jimbo and a few others he knows. I don’t think Muschamp works in a vacuum. I bet Jimbo tells him to clean out the offensive staff. I hope he takes the advice. The sad thing is, Muschamp seems to have a loyalty issue everyone here has picked up on – he plays the older players even when the younger ones are obviously better (kelvin taylor, etc) and aparently he’s got Pease’s back as well. I’m totally confused on what’s the deal with Davis, but I’m betting it’s because of Pease, maybe just because I think Pease is a doofus.

          Muschamp has another year, both on his contract (he only has 1 more year, right?) and I think he’ll be allowed that chance to right the ship.

          disclaimer: I’m not a footballl expert, I don’t think I know more than anyone else or the coaches. I’m just thinking this through logically and how someone in this situation might approach it. I’m frustrated like anyone else. Go Gators.

          • nugent1021 says:

            Correction, Muschamp’s was extended to 2016 (3 years left) with a $2mil/year buyout for each year left on the contract.
            Muschamp probably isn’t going anywhere.

      • CH says:

        Frank: a coach comes because he believes he can win at the highest level. You and your son don’t understand the game if you don’t know why a coach would come to the university of Florida. Plus…the $$. They come for the money.
        Ken (CA) is right- coach is a great recruiter but terrible player developer. I’d rather have a great player developer that recruits good. Who was the last coach at UF that didn’t recruit well? Any decent coach can recruit well at UF- the school recruits itself.
        No one mentions special teams. They are awful this yr. Under Meyer we had the best special teams and they’ve seemed to disappear- I think a lack of emphasis on the coaching. Compiled with the discipline issues already mentioned several times- it comes back to leadership. Not play calling but leadership….or lack there of. Muschamp seemed to mature from the first yr and seems to be learning but he still has too far to go IMO.
        This is not an offensive game- all the new rules on the defensive side of the ball are making it easier to pitch and catch. We need an offensive minded coach.
        Please no to Dan Mullen and bobby petrino. Terrible ideas. And as much as I love strong I’d like an offensive coach- Kingsbhry or Kelly.

        • Frank says:

          In theory, you’re right- money talks. But the HBC position here has become a poisoned waterhole. Not sure anyone in his right mind would take any amount to try and deal with this fan base. Coach had an unbelievable rebuilding challenge when Meyer left. Add in all the NFL talent we’ve lost the past two years, along with key injuries this year. It’s an absolute disaster and has made it even more difficult for Coach. He deserves a chance to turn it around after what he’s had to deal with. Replace the OC along with a new offensive philosophy and see what happens.

          • Michael Jones says:

            “Coach had an unbelievable rebuilding challenge” and “add in all the NFL talent we lost over the last two years” doesn’t go together, my friend. Those 2 statements are inconsistent. And I assure you that based on the behavior of some of the other rabid fan bases around this country, we Gator fans are mild.

            But I do hate the inferiority complex that we Gator fans have regarding our head coaching job somehow being less attractive that other programs. We’re a top notch, top tier program. Period. Bar none. This job is as good as any job in the country.

  10. aziatic41 says:

    Another bad weekend-ruining loss.

    Where do I start.. I think Muschamp is a good coach but he is at the wrong place at the wrong time in his career. Muschamp’s philosphy doesn’t fit in with the type of football UF needs. His run-run-run clock eating mentality will never work in the SEC. The defenses are just too good to pound the ball on with no threat of passing.

    Tyler Murphy is a good kid but he is nothing more than a back-up. I think Driskel is slightly better than him. Murphy’s height is listed at 6’2 but that has to be false. He looks more like 5’11 on the field, as numerous of his balls have been batted down over the last few games. And he is also light weight-wise. He has a small frame. Hard to win when you ask him to stand in the pocket and deliver strikes against good teams on 3rd down with those physical limitations.

    Our season is all about pride now. Hopefully we can beat Vandy next week. That will probably be our last win this season.

    We most definitely need a new head coach. Muschamp is too stubborn to change things if Foley brings him back. Listen guys, Muschamp will never change his philosphy. He’s too stubborn!

    Notable coaches Foley should target:

    Charlie Strong
    Dan Mullen
    Chad Morris
    Kliff Kinsbury
    Bobby Petrino
    *Chip Kelly

  11. Champ supporter says:

    I am not trying to make excuses, but honestly what do you really expect? Injuries are a really big deal. How come no one mentions all of the guys who went to the nfl from the defense? I know most people do not like Driskell, but it really is a big deal when you lose your number one. Why is it Muschamp’s fault for a senior, RSjr, and a jr to commit costly penalties? Those guys know better. I know Champ is making millions to take the heat, but sooner or later someone has to place the blame on the players who aren’t executing. I appreciate Murphy for his loyalty, but his accuracy is not very good. There is a reason why the guy was on the practice squad. I know he asked, but we just aren’t there. How many teams in the country have played 8 games and their starting TE made his first catch today??? How many teams #1 WR catches a 4th down passes and instead of out running a LB, he runs backwards and loses 3 yards???

    As Gator fans, we have been spoiled, very spoiled. I love Muschamp. I think he’s a great coach. However, the level of talent on this roster just isn’t there yet. I know so many people are calling for Champ to be gone, but honestly, who is out there that is better?

    I know it’s been very painful, but it has to get better sooner or later. I mean this is the University of Florida!!!

    • Michael Jones says:

      You think your questions about the tight end and the #1 WR are about a lack of talent? How many top 5 recruiting classes have we had in the past five years? Top 10? How about Mizzou, who wiped their feet off on us?

      No, those are poor coaching issues, not lack of talent issues (although the 4th down run after catch was Murphy’s fault for throwing behind the receiver, not the receiver’s).

      Let me ask you this: who’s fault is it that our players have no discipline? That a Div. I football scholarship athlete doesn’t know that you don’t take your helmet off on the field after a big play and take your team 15 yards further away from a game tying field goal? Is that a talent issue? Name one other program–even those thugs down in Miami–who’s had a player do that this year? And then the kid shows absolutely no remorse for it, like: “Big deal. . .we still stopped them on 4th down.”

      • Champ supporter says:

        So that’s the coaches fault the kid took his helmet off? Ball is a RSjr. He knows better. Why isn’t that the players fault? The coaches aren’t the ones out there pushing opposing players or lining up wrong or shoving other players or moving before the snap count. As far recruiting, those ranking don’t mean a whole lot! It still boils down to a kid going out there and performing. Sorry, coaches deserve blame, but they don’t deserve all of it. Players have to play and quite frankly we do not have too many that are going out there and executing.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          It does come back to the coaches, all the football players that write things like Snell or commentators or coaches all talk about how football is a game of habit, that you drill and drill and drill on the practice field so it is automatic during the game and you don’t have to think about it consciously. That is discipline and maturity. That is what the coaches are paid to teach to translate to Saturday wins. Lack of execution now and then, yea that’s on the players. Lack of execution week after week? That’s the coaches not drilling in the fundamentals and discipline.

  12. GatorGrad98 says:

    I agree with you, but the stats the media has been throwing up in our faces this year shows a systemic issue with our offense dating back to Brantley. I don’t want Muschamp to go, but I do want to see Pease gone!!!

  13. aziatic41 says:

    Just read that Muschamp screamed back at a fan after the game yesterday. As I stated earlier this guy is “stubborn” and “fiesty” and will never change his coaching philosphy while at Florida. We need to get rid of this guy immediately. He is going to tear this program down the longer he stays.

    • nugent1021 says:

      what was said?

    • Champ supporter says:

      So what quality replacement is available?

    • Ziggy says:

      You failed to mention that that fan gave Muschamp the ole one finger solute. How classy is that? The fans are what is going to tear this program apart

      • nugent1021 says:

        I imagine that fan is tired of his beloved Gators losing to UGA. Something we really didn’t do prior to Muschamp.

        • Ziggy says:

          So it’s ok as long as your upset? That’s the kind of fan mentality that I’m talking about. We’ll support you coach as long as it’s all rosy, but in hard times you better get ready for the finger.

          • Frank says:

            Thank You!!! Coach=Frustrated Fan=Classless Human Being

          • nugent1021 says:

            Hey, I wasn’t saying I condone the fan’s actions and I wouldn’t have done the same. I can’t imagine the horrible feeling Muschamp had after losing that game in front of all those people. I’m just saying what the fan’s mindset is. The Georgia game to me is the most important game of the year. I’m personally really pissed about the 3 game slide and it really clouds my judgement of Muschamp. I hope he makes an offensive coordinator change.

  14. W says:

    Coaching targets for UF:

    Bear Bryant
    Jon Gruden
    Barry Switzer
    Knute Rockne
    Tim Tebow
    Nick Saban

    Let’s not any of us pretend we know what a next step for be for UF were Muschamp to go. Let’s focus on the here and now, which is that we can make a bowl, ruin (a) USC’s SEC championship dreams, (b) FSU’s national championship dreams, (c) both, or (d, most likely) neither. Did anyone here honestly expect us to beat UGA, turn our season around, and go back to being 2012 Florida?

  15. Michael Jones says:

    STEVE SPURRIER SHOULD BE OUR NEXT HEAD COACH. HE’S THE BEST WE’VE EVER HAD AND HE’S STILL KICKING BUTT RECRUITING SOUTH CAROLINA. IMAGINE HIM BACK AT UF.

    Tell me one good reason why he shouldn’t be our next head coach?

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Because he’s 192 years old? Not to mention he and Foley didn’t part on particularly good terms?

      • Michael Jones says:

        Watch what the 192 coach does to our Gators on Nov. 16. How did he fare against the same Mizzou team that wiped their feet on us? Looked like he was young enough to get it done that day.

        But let’s not let a little thing like facts get in the way of a pre-conceived age bias.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          wow, you can’t tell a joke can you? There is no age bias, he has said himself that SC would be his last stop as a coach. The important point was that he and Foley parted on bad terms from all reports and I doubt he would consider comign back while Foley is still here

  16. G2 says:

    Sad to say no chance of that happening this year, the D can’t stop a decent offense after all. Did you see all the missed tackles yesterday? Whats happened to Morrison and Rpberson? Our offense can’t muster more than 20 points, lucky to win 2 more games.

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