2024 Game By Game

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2024 Game By Game

2024 Game By Game

August 31 – Clemson – Mercedes-Benz Stadium (ATL)





The last time these two old rivals met was in the 2021 season opener. That one was played in Charlotte, and the Bulldogs 10-3 victory jump-started Georgia’s run to the national championship. This one will be contested in Atlanta, where the Bulldogs hope to play multiple times this season, including the national championship game on January 20. 

These are two of college football’s great powers, led by highly successful coaches. 

Dabo Swinney led Clemson to the 2016 and 2018 national championships and six straight playoff appearances between 2015 and 2020. Swinney’s Tiger teams have dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference, capturing eight league titles, including seven in eight years between 2015 and 2022. 





Last year, Clemson found itself at 4-4 eight games in, with a pair of overtime losses stinging. The Tigers would rally, and win five straight to close out at 9-4. Clemson’s last two games last year were wins over Southeastern Conference foes – arch rival South Carolina in the regular season finale and then Kentucky in the Gator Bowl. 

Expectations are high once again in Tiger Town, with quarterback Cade Klubnik leading the way. As usual, Clemson is fast, strong and physical. With Klubnik settled in behind center, the Tiger faithful are confident they have all the pieces to return to the top of the ACC and pull in a playoff bid. 

Kirby Smart has been amazing at his alma mater. Georgia’s head coach led his alma mater to back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022 and a 13-1 campaign last season. His Bulldogs have finished in the top-10 seven straight years. 

Both teams have difficult schedules, with Georgia’s arguably the country’s most challenging. For the loser, there is the ability to recover and make its way to the playoff. But the margin for error will be much thinner, especially for Georgia if the Tigers notch the win in Atlanta. 

Through the years, these two have played in some true classics. Some of Georgia’s greatest teams topped the Tigers in signature triumphs en route to glory: 1980, 1982, 2002, 2021. Clemson’s 1981 national championship team beat defending national champion Georgia for its shining victory. Some of the best to ever play for the Bulldogs shined brightly against the Tigers. Scott Woerner, Kevin Butler and Chris Smith delivered some of the most significant plays in Georgia football annals while leading the Bulldogs past the Tigers. Like so many of the high profile games on Georgia’s schedule, legends can be made in games like this.    

And for the fan base of the winner, be careful talking too much, with the 12-team playoff a future meeting just may be in the cards. We’ll say that about several more teams of the Bulldogs rugged slate this year.

September 7 – Tennessee Tech – Sanford Stadium

The way the schedule sets up, the Bulldogs have the high profile opener with Clemson, the regular season finale against the Yellow Jackets, a bit of a buffer on the back and front ends and eight SEC games in the middle. 

So between Clemson and the SEC opener at Kentucky, the Bulldogs host Tennessee Tech out of the Ohio Valley Conference in Division 1-AA/FCS. The Golden Eagles went 4-7 a year ago. This is one that should be an easy win for Georgia. Lots of players should get snaps, and those, especially for inexperienced players, can certainly prove valuable this season. Or next. 

A nice fun fact on Tennessee Tech. It is the alma mater of legendary Georgia women’s basketball coach Andy Landers.


September 14 – Kentucky – Kroger field

The last time Georgia played football at Kentucky, it was late November 2022, and quite possibly the coldest football game the Bulldogs have ever played in. Wind chills and “feels like” got down into the single digits. This one used to be in October then November. It will be a different feel playing Kentucky when it is hot in Lexington. 

Georgia has dominated the series with Kentucky, winning 14 straight meetings with the Wildcats dating back to 2010. That includes that aforementioned frigid 16-6 Georgia triumph en route to a second straight national championship, and last year’s 51-13 victory over the Wildcats Between the Hedges. Georgia got its second string quarterback some action on that picturesque night in Athens. That signal caller, Brock Vandergriff, is now the starting quarterback for the Wildcats. 

Mark Stoops, heading into his 12th season as Kentucky’s head coach, has high hopes for this team and is hopeful Vandergriff, who is also a good runner, can give the Wildcats the difference making dual threat behind center. Stoops has done an excellent job in Lexington, leading the Wildcats to a bowl game in eight straight seasons, highlighted by 10-3 campaigns in 2018 and 2021. He has the most wins of any head coach in Kentucky football history. His comments comparing Kentucky football to basketball – born on third base – raised a few eyebrows. Hey, John Calipari is now coaching Arkansas, and Stoops has the Wildcats once again squarely in the middle of the pack. 

Kentucky is a hard-nosed physical football team. The Wildcats have turned the tables on Florida. But Kentucky has only beaten Tennessee twice over the last 12 years and Georgia has the long winning streak against the Wildcats. 

 The battle with the Bulldogs will be the third of four straight home games for Kentucky to kick off the season. The Wildcats open with Southern Miss and then host South Carolina prior to the Bulldogs visit. It will be loud and raucous under the lights with the Wildcats eyeing the upset. Georgia and Kentucky last played in Lexington at night in 2016, with Rodrigo Blankenship nailing the game-winning field goal as time expired. 

Georgia’s road schedule is brutally tough, that margin for error is thin. 

September 28 – Alabama – Bryant-Denny Stadium

The Nick Saban era is over at Alabama. What an incredible run it was, with six national championships highlighting the resume. From 2008 (his second campaign on the capstone) through last year, the Crimson Tide had either a once beaten or undefeated regular season 13 times in 16 seasons. That consistent excellence may be the most impressive accomplishment of Saban’s reign. 

Kalen DeBoer is the new head coach at Alabama. He comes to Tuscaloosa from the University of Washington, fresh off leading the Huskies to the College Football Playoff as the last ever PAC-12 champion, and the national title game. 

The transfer portal was beaming players in and out of T-Town, but we know this: Alabama is extremely talented and tough. DeBoer will try and put his fingerprints on the program, while keeping the train on the tracks. I’m having Ray Perkins flashbacks. It really is incredible that Alabama had college football’s greatest coach of the second half of the 20th century, and then the top head-man of the first two decades of the 2000s. 

Both Georgia and Alabama have playoff aspirations, and though this will be a huge game, there is of course the chance that these two could meet again down the road.  

Since Georgia’s last win in Tuscaloosa in 2007, the Bulldogs and Alabama have played only once at Bryant-Denny Stadium, a 41-24 Crimson Tide victory in the 2020 Covid season. 

These two have squared off on the biggest of stages, and that could be in the cards again. 

Alabama opens with lighter lifting against Western Kentucky and South Florida, then heads to Wisconsin in week three, so the game versus Georgia will be the Tide’s SEC opener. 

The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide will each have an open date prior to the showdown. 

For Smart’s Dogs, it’s a chance to draw “first blood” against DeBoer’s Tide. The two will play in Athens next season, as the SEC is flip flopping this year’s conference slate for 2025. 

The second half of Alabama’s schedule is a challenge, and they’ll get every team’s best shot. The last two weeks of October feature a trip to Tennessee and a visit from Missouri. In November, the Crimson Tide goes to LSU, then hosts Mercer. That’s followed by a trip to Oklahoma and then Auburn in the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa. 

Some Bama fans will say, doesn’t matter. It’s Alabama. Let’s just say, expectations will still be very high. 

October 5 – Auburn – Sanford Stadium

Playing Auburn the week after Alabama is some kind of challenge. Through the years, I can’t imagine too many teams have played these two back-to-back. 

Don’t sleep on the Tigers. Hugh Freeze will have Auburn jacked up to pull off the road upset of the Bulldogs. Both teams will be coming off huge games the week before, the Bulldogs at Bama, while Auburn will be hosting Oklahoma. Auburn took Georgia to the wire last year, as the Bulldogs pulled out a thrilling 27-20 victory, highlighted by heroics from All-American Brock Bowers. 

In the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, filled with upsets, road wins, stunners and tightly contested battles for championships, Georgia has enjoyed tremendous success against the Tigers over parts of three decades. Since 2006, the Bulldogs are 16-3 against Auburn, highlighted by a 28-7 victory in the 2017 SEC Championship Game with a CFP berth on the line. That SEC Championship victory in Atlanta was the first of seven straight in the current win streak for Georgia over Auburn. These things are cyclical, and Georgia is in an incredible cycle of success against Auburn. From 1983-1990, the Tigers topped the Dogs seven times in eight games, costing Georgia three SEC titles.    

Auburn’s last win in Athens was a crushing 31-30 loss to the Tigers in 2005. That’s eight straight wins Between the Hedges for the Bulldogs over Auburn. To put that in historical context, between 1977 and 2001, Auburn went 11-2 against Georgia in Athens. 

For the Tiger faithful, they’re hoping to get back to the elite. They certainly haven’t enjoyed their two biggest rivals sitting atop the college football world. And nobody in the SEC played Saban’s Bama teams better than Auburn. 

Smart has done a tremendous job of turning the page and having his teams focused week after week. This will be critical – hot take here – for this showdown that still feels strange being played this time of year. The schedule move has been good for Georgia. All those years with the Gators and Auburn and then the Yellow Jackets, it was mighty tough. After the 1982 Bulldogs beat Florida, Auburn and Tech to close out an 11-0 SEC Championship regular season, Georgia didn’t beat the big three rivals again in the same season until 2007.

The Bulldogs have been incredible Between the Hedges in the Kirby Smart dynasty. Georgia’s last loss at Sanford Stadium was to South Carolina in 2019. This will be a huge test, and a game the Dogs need badly to maintain that margin for error. 

October 12 – Mississippi State – Sanford Stadium

Make that a double, with Mississippi State coming to town. Smart has done an incredible job having his team ready week to week, that focus will be vital when those Maroon Bulldogs come to town. Mississippi State will be looking at this as a trap game and an upset opportunity. Georgia will be coming off games against Alabama and Auburn with a highly anticipated road trip to Texas looming. MSU will be coming off an open date, having played Texas in Austin on September 28. 

There is a new head coach in Starkville. Jeff Lebby is Mississippi State’s third in the last three years. Mike Leach tragically passed away in 2022. His successor Zach Arnett lasted just one season. 

Lebby is known as the architect for some high-powered offenses. He comes to Starkville from Norman, where he was Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the previous two years. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss. So he is more than familiar with football in the Magnolia State, the Egg Bowl and the SEC. 

The aerial attacks he has directed have the State faithful hopeful that they can make a jump in the rugged SEC. The schedule is brutal. Along with going to Austin and Athens, MSU also travels to Tennessee and then plays Ole Miss in Oxford in the regular season finale. State opens with Eastern Kentucky, going to Arizona State and then hosts Toledo. Could they post a 3-0 mark with Florida coming to town the next week? The game with the Gators is huge for both teams’ postseason hopes. Plus, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin left Mississippi State, his alma mater, for Gainesville. That will make for a storyline. 

Blake Shapen, a transfer from Baylor, is the frontrunner at quarterback. He started 23 games for the Bears and, as a backup pressed into duty, was the Most Valuable Player of the 2021 Big XII Championship Game. 

Making it to a bowl game would be a strong accomplishment in Year One for Lebby. To do so, the Maroons might just have to knock off an SEC blueblood along the way.   

October 19 – Texas – Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium

In his third year as Texas’s head coach, Steve Sarkisian fed the hungry Longhorns fan base with a farewell Big XII Championship, College Football Playoff berth and an early season victory over Alabama. Texas lost a heartbreaker to Washington in the Sugar Bowl, but it was still a big step forward. 

Now the Longhorns – and Oklahoma – officially join the SEC. 

Expectations – shocker – are high in Austin. Quinn Ewers is back at quarterback. So is Arch Manning. The Longhorns lost some outstanding talent at wide receiver but have recruited well and figure to be in the hunt as one of the best teams in the league. Honestly, anything short of a playoff berth will be a disappointment for Texas. Of course, the same can be said for several SEC teams including Georgia. 

The last time these two met, Texas beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to cap off the 2018 season. The Bulldogs and Longhorns will meet for just the sixth time ever, the first in Austin since Texas beat Georgia 13-8 in 1958. Georgia’s lone win over the Longhorns came on January 2, 1984 in the Cotton Bowl. John Lastinger’s touchdown dash, Kevin Butler’s extra point and a supreme defensive effort led the 9-1-1 Bulldogs to a 10-9 upset victory, dealing the second-ranked 11-0 Longhorns their lone loss of the season, quite possibly costing them the national championship. 

Anticipation for this one is high. But again, there is a very good chance, with a playoff that has tripled in size, these two could see one another again. Tickets are in high demand, hotel rooms even more so. There is a Formula One race scheduled that very same weekend in Austin, which is expected to bring in over 400,000 extra fans to the Texas State Capitol.

Sarkisian’s team will be coming off the annual battle with Oklahoma in Dallas. It will be an epic two weeks for the burnt Orange faithful. 

Where Texas has made its big strides, and it showed the last two years against Alabama, is on the defensive front. 

The Horns open with Colorado State and then go to Michigan. The games with the Sooners and Georgia will be tossups. Texas figures to be favored in every other SEC contest. Oklahoma, which closes at Missouri, home with Bama and at LSU, is already making noise that Texas got the easier draw. They aren’t wrong. At least, at this point. 

November 2 – Florida – EverBank Stadium (JAX)

There is nothing like Georgia-Florida. In the divisional era of the conference, the road to Atlanta ran through Jacksonville. This is still massive, but there’s not the leg up in the SEC East race because there are no longer separate divisions in the SEC. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in college football, and the atmosphere in Jacksonville is uniquely electric. Smart’s Bulldogs have won six of the last seven meetings with the Gators, defeating a trio of Florida coaches along the way. That includes Billy Napier, who heads into his third season at the helm in Gainesville sitting on one of – if not THE – hottest seat of any coach in college football. 

Since the Gators beat the Bulldogs in 2020, the programs have gone in two completely different directions. Georgia is 46-2 with a pair of national championships, six major bowl/College Football Playoff/National Championship Game victories, three straight trips to the SEC Championship Game and a trio of successive triumphs over Florida (all by at least 22 points). The Gators have suffered three straight losing seasons after dropping their final three games of the 2020 campaign. 

Florida is looking for a turnaround and that signature win against the Bulldogs. As the East versus West SEC era has closed, Georgia has been to Atlanta six of the last seven years, posting regular season records of 11-1 or 12-0 in each of those six title game runs. Florida went in the aforementioned 2020 season, and the two years prior to Kirby’s dynasty run. In the 32 all time SEC Championship games, it was Florida (13) or Georgia (11) out of the East 24 times. 

The Bulldogs fell behind 7-0 last season in Jacksonville, then erupted to score the next 36 points in a 43-20 victory. 

One of the Gators top offensive threats from the last two years, running back Trevor Etienne, transferred to Georgia. Bulldogs quarterback Carson Beck is a Jacksonville native. He was tremendous in the game last year, hitting 19-of-28 passes for 315 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. 

Like Georgia, Florida has an extremely tough schedule. The Gators open with Miami in Gainesville and close with the Seminoles in Tallahassee. Leading up to the game at Florida State, the Gators play Georgia in Jacksonville, go to Texas, then host LSU and Ole Miss. The ultimate Gator icon Steve Spurrier has predicted an 8-4 season, saying Florida fans would be turning cartwheels if that happens. If it is worse than that, and Ole Miss wins in the Swamp, the Gator faithful will be calling for Lane Kiffin. 

November 9 – Ole Miss – Vaught-Hemingway Stadium

Last season, Kiffin led Ole Miss to one of its greatest seasons of all time last year. The Rebels went 11-2, losing only to Alabama and Georgia, and beat Penn State 38-25 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and finished No. 9 nationally. It was just Ole Miss’s second final top-10 national ranking since the glory days of the Johnny Vaught era.   

The first half of the schedule is more than manageable for the Rebels, and to make the playoff, they probably need to come out of the gates 6-0. Then comes a trip to Baton Rouge and old nemesis LSU, followed by a visit from Boomer Sooner on October 26. The Square and The Grove will be epic that Saturday. While Georgia is battling Florida, the Rebels will be at Arkansas. The Square and The Grove will also be epic when the Bulldogs come to town. Hotel rooms will be at a premium and the doormen at City Grocery, Ajax, Old Venice, The Burgundy Room and Proud Larry’s will have a fist full of 50s, if not hundies. 

We all know that the portal giveth and taketh away. Ole Miss got hit, most notably losing a bidding war with Ohio State for standout running back Quinshon Judkins. The Rebels also had some impressive additions. And Jaxson Dart is back at quarterback. He’s one of college football’s best. 

Georgia blew away the Rebels in a top-10 showdown last year. The Bulldogs prevailed 52-17 Between the Hedges to improve to 10-0, while handing the Rebels just their second loss. The way Ole Miss responded was very impressive. Kiffin said after the game that they weren’t a playoff team. But their close to the campaign rightfully put them in the top-10. Could they be a playoff team this season? Absolutely. Tre Harrie is electric at receiver and the Rebels have some weapons on defense, notably a stout defensive front that includes Texas A&M portal addition Walter Nolen, who teams with veterans JJ Pegues and Jared Ivey. 

The last time Georgia came to Oxford, it was 2016 and Smart’s first season at his alma mater. The Bulldogs were impressive against North Carolina, then beat Nicholls State by two and MIssouri by one. Ole Miss meanwhile was 1-2, having 20-plus point leads evaporate against Florida State and Alabama. Georgia was 3-0, but … it was a long Saturday in Oxford. Ole Miss led 31-0 at the half, and 45-0 in the third quarter. The Rebels won 45-14. 

Georgia has come a long way since, to the top of the college football mountain. While Ole Miss is making the climb. Both have daunting slates – hello, it’s the SEC. If the Bulldogs and Rebels are both once-beaten or better, book this as the game of the day in college football. No matter the records, you can book that it will be the best tailgate and fashion show. 

November 16 – Tennessee – Sanford Stadium

When it comes to Tennessee, everything begins with Nico. The heralded prospect from California, Nico Iamaleava is the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the Volunteers. He got his feet wet last season, and then excelled in Tennessee’s 35-0 Citrus Bowl victory over Iowa, accounting for four touchdowns. The 6-6, 210-pound sophomore is a terrific passer with excellent speed and elusiveness. The Tennessee faithful are hopeful that he’s the player who can put them over the top. 

It’s year four of the Josh Heupel era in Knoxville, and this is the best shape the Volunteers program has been in since the early 2000s. Expectations really got ramped up in 2022 when Tennessee rose to the top spot in the college football playoff rankings, only to lose at reigning and eventual national champion Georgia and then South Carolina. But the Vols rebounded to beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl, finishing in the top six of the final national polls. 

An early season loss at Florida, where Tennessee just can’t seem to win, put the Vols on tilt when it came to playoff aspirations. They led Bama in Tuscaloosa at the half, but it was all Tide in the second half. Then back-to-back weeks in November, the Big Orange got pounded 36-7 at Missouri and 38-10 by Georgia in Knoxville. A 48-24 victory over Vandy and the Citrus Bowl win closed things out on a good note, and Nico’s showing against Iowa gives great hope for the future. 

As always, the schedule is tough. Every SEC team can say that. For some, it’s just tougher. Tennessee’s is manageable. What seem to be the three toughest tests are a trip to Oklahoma, the visit from Alabama and then the Bulldogs in Athens. But there’s also N.C. State in Charlotte, a trip to Arkansas, Kentucky … and Florida. In Knoxville. the week before Bama visits. If the Volunteers could win both of those in back-to-back weeks on Rocky Top, there’ll be victory cannonballs into the Tennessee River and Calhoun’s may run out of ribs. 

Since 2010, Georgia is 12-2 against Tennessee. In 2015, Mark Richt’s last year at the Bulldog helm, the Vols rallied from a 24-3 first half deficit to win 38-31. Then the next year, Kirby Smart’s first, there was the Hail Mary. 

It’s seven in a row for Georgia under Smart now. Here are the scores dating back to 2017: 41-0, 38-12, 43-14, 44-21, 41-17, 27-13, 38-10. A series that Georgia trailed 17-10-2 heading into the 21st century is now led by the Bulldogs 28-23-2. 

This one could have huge postseason implications, and Georgia, coming off that trip to Ole Miss – and Florida the week prior – will get a highly motivated Vols team. Tennessee will be coming off a home game with Mississippi State. 

Georgia figures to also be highly motivated. 

November 23 – UMass – Sanford Stadium

This is one that Georgia should win. UMass went 3-9 last year. The MInutemen did beat Army. They also lost to Penn State 63-0 and went down to Auburn 59-14. After eight straight SEC games, and with Tech coming up on a short week, a victory without taking too much gas out of the tank would be nice. This will be UMass’s third SEC foe. The Minutemen go to Missouri and Mississippi State as well. The week prior to the trip to Athens, UMass hosts Liberty. 

These two met in 2018, on this week, after the SEC and with the Jackets on deck. Georgia won 66-27 with seven different Bulldogs scoring touchdowns. UMass’s standout wide receiver Andy Isabella was tremendous. He caught 15 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard scoring grab and dash. 

The most famous athlete to attend UMass, one of the greatest basketball players ever, No. 6, Julius “Dr. J” Erving. 

November 29 – Tech – Sanford Stadium

Here they come. The Jackets are gunning for the Dogs. They have their coach. He went to school there, and the Jacket faithful are hoping he can continue the turnaround and be to the North Avenue Trade School what Kirby Smart has been to his alma mater. 

Brent Key took over in the middle of what was shaping up as another disastrous season in 2022. He brought the Yellow Jackets to respectability and made defending and eventual national champion Georgia (I never tire of writing that) sweat in a 37-14 Bulldogs victory Between the Hedges. Last year’s game on the Flats, especially after a touchdown and first down inside the ten were called back by penalties with Georgia leading 31-16 in the fourth quarter, was very nervy. Tech got an early lead, and took advantage of turnovers to get within eight at 31-23. But the Bulldogs got the onsides kick and ran out the clock to escape Hyundai Field with a victory. It was Georgia’s 12th straight win on the Flats and 16th in the last 17 meetings in Atlanta. The lone loss, the infamous Al Ford call on Jasper Sanks non-fumble that was incorrectly in pre-replay days ruled a fumble. 

Georgia is 19-3 against the Yellow Jackets since 2001. Due to covid scheduling, these two didn’t play in 2020. Tech has won two of the last four Between the Hedges, in 2014 and 2016. 

Since the heartbreaking 28-27 loss to the Jackets in 2016, Smart’s first season at the helm in Athens, the Bulldogs have won six in a row. The winning margins have been: 31, 24, 45, 45, 23 and last year’s eight. 

Tech beat UCF 30-17 last year in the Gasparilla Bowl, the Yellow Jackets first postseason appearance and winning record since 2018. After the Jackets first bowl win since 2016, Key fired up the fan base in the seats by saying “Go Jackets! To hell with Georgia!”

This is the best Jackets team since Paul Johnson’s heyday on the Flats. Haynes King is a fantastic quarterback, running and throwing. He gave the Dogs fits a year ago. Jamal Haynes,ran for 1,059 yards as a freshman last season. 

Tech has its entire offensive line back and have talent at receiver and the defense figures to be vastly improved. 

Now there’s the schedule. The game has been moved to the Friday night after Thanksgiving. Tech had already set its slate up to go “all-in” to topple the Dogs. The Jackets have open dates on November 2 and November 16 and play N.C. State on Thursday November 21. 

The schedule is more than manageable. Tech opens with Florida State on August 24 against Florida State in Dublin, Ireland. The Yellow Jackets figure to be favored the rest of the way until October 19 at Notre Dame. They must avoid the head scratching upset, like last year’s loss to Bowling Green. Dating back many years (the tie with Notre Dame in 1980, a win over Alabama in 1981), the Jackets seem to spring the upset. They did it – granted by one of the all time worst coaching decisions ever from the Miami staff – last year against the Hurricanes. 

Could Tech have eight or nine wins and be in the ACC Championship mix when the Jackets head to Athens? 

Could Georgia need a win to get to 10-2 and grab a playoff berth?

All of this could be in play. 

There are some teams some Bulldog fans enjoy beating more, but it hurts to lose to “The Enemy” way more than anyone. And Tech is trending up. 

Kirby Smart has built Georgia into a two-time national championship powerhouse, sitting atop the college football world. The Bulldogs are built to win national titles. Key is building the Jackets – while enjoying other fruits along the way – to beat Georgia. 





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