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Initial Reactions to Ball State-Akron [POSTGAME VIDEO]

OTP Logo 200

That is how you win a ballgame, kiddies. The collection of people who thought Ball State would walk out of the Scheu with a two touchdown win could probably fit in a small room somewhere in the bowels of the stadium. That’s not what matters and certainly not what happened today, though, as the Cards walk out with a 35-21 win, a 3-5 record, their second straight win, and a heaping helping of momentum.

First and foremost, my initial reaction is “WINS ARE FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!” and much more enjoyable than losses. The last time I was in the post game presser it was after Indiana State and this one was considerably different, considerably more positive, and there wasn’t an uneasy thing sort of hanging in the air as everyone wondered how CPL and the Cards were going to explain that loss away.

My second reaction is that I said all week that Akron is maybe the worst 4-3 team in the country. It’s good to be proven right as Akron showed time and time again in the second half why they are now the worst 4-4 team in the country. The pessimists in the fanbase were convinced that the offense couldn’t move the ball, the defense couldn’t stop the Zips, and it was just a matter of time before even more of the sky continued to fall. The tale of two halves showed what this team is capable of and every good team has a moment people can point to as “The Moment” when things sort of fell into place. Today’s win is certainly capable of just that very thing.

Third, if you haven’t seen Quake Edwards in person, make sure you check out a game before he leaves Muncie after this season. The amount of punishment he both doles out and takes through the case of his weekly running back duties is astounding. The fact that he’s both effective and durable is a testament to both Quake and the training staff. He’s now 9th in the MAC in career touchdowns, 1st in school history for yards, and 2nd in school history for 100-yard games.

Obviously getting five turnovers in one half of football isn’t a sustainable gameplan going forward, but damn it was nice to see today from the Cardinals. Whether it was stalwart defense from the boys in Cardinal and White or Akron just falling apart or some combination of the two is sort of a moot point, as the only thing that ultimately matters is that Ball State beat a MAC East contender that was 4-3 and lauded as a strong conference opponent. Akron coach Terry Bowden, ever the master of the obvious said, “The turnovers and all the mistakes in the second half were our melt down.” Yep.

How about Jack Milas?! While happy as can be that he is coming in to his own at the helm of this offense it does raise some questions about why that move wasn’t made sooner.

Overall, this game was exceptionally odd. Between the three straight interceptions, the other turnovers, questionable spots, shaky reviews, stupid penalties, and a whole host of other things, I fully expected this to fall in line with the rest of 2014 and see the Cardinals fail to be on the good end of any 50-50 type of situation.

The final reaction is that it is a testament to the integrity of these players and coaches to continue to perform week in and week out despite the lack of support they have from the student body and community at large. On a picture-perfect fall Saturday, only 7617 made it out to The Scheu. I understand this team’s record is not the dazzling wonderment it has been in recent memory, but that is absolutely no excuse. Wonderful performance from the team, pathetic performance from the fanbase.

Those are my initial reactions, let’s hear from CPL and select players…

Part 1…

Part 2…

Part 3…


More coming tomorrow for sure like Final Word and an in-depth look at the win, but this feels awfully good. I would normally be dreading a two and a half hour drive home, but between the W and the Pizza King I’ll have along with me, it’s going to be a breeze.


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Ball State-Akron Live Thread

OTP Logo 200It’s time for another home game for the Cards and OTP is live from the box in Scheumann Stadium. It’s been an adventurous home season for the Pylon, as a family death and Fearless Leader vomiting his guts out have kept us away aside from the Indiana State debacle. That was the premier of the fancy new Live Thread format here at OTP. It was not an awesome debut. So, we’ll try to shake up the mojo this week as the Cards get the 4-3 Akron Zips. Refresh this page often as we’ll be updating throughout the day with our usual panache.


  • It’s an absolutely gorgeous day at the Scheu. Though it’s picture perfect for football, you wouldn’t know it from the tailgate lots or the stadium stands. Let’s say it’s sparse, and I feel like even “sparse” is overselling the situation here.
  • Coolest moment of the day was sitting down and within maybe 5 minutes hearing Morry Mannies chatting down the row. Still a legend and still the voice of the Cards.
  • Akron wins the toss, defers to the 2nd half. BSU will get the ball to open the game. Also, the Zips helmets are quite shiny. Like, ocular-ly offensively so.
  • BSU with the red jerseys, red pants, white numerals, and white helmets. That should be the last sartorial tweet of the day.


  • We said on the lead up to this week’s game that it would need to be the Milas show, and so far, that has been the case. First drive for the Cardinals leads to a Scott Secor field goal and it’s 3-0 good guys. 3 straight completions to open the drive moved the Cards to the Akron 30 before stalling out, but that’s a good sign. With a presence through the air, Quake should find the sledding at least somewhat manageable against a stout Akron run defense. 3-0 BSU
  • We also said on the lead up that stopping Akron through the air and specifically when the Zips hit the red zone are absolutely critical. Akron is one of the worst teams in the FBS in red zone scoring conversion. They didn’t show it that first drive. One long completion down the middle seam (as usual), and a touch pass from Akron QB Tommy Woodson to TE Anthony Ritossa and it’s 7-3 AKR
  • BSU forced to punt and Akron quickly moves the ball deep in to Cardinal territory. Three quick passes and the Zips are inside the BSU 30.
  • After forcing a 4th and inches with a questionable spot, Akron converts on the BSU 13 and takes the next play to the house on a Conor Hundley sweep. Typical fashion for this season, with just fluke luck and the 50-50 moments never seeming to go the Cards way save for a Secor kick in Mt. Pleasant last week. 14-3 AKR
  • First quarter comes to a close and the Cards have some work to do. Offense needs to find a rhythm and the defense needs to disrupt Akron’s.


  • So the story of the first quarter has been two giant “questionable” spots from the officials in critical third downs. One led directly to 7 points, and the second drive is still unfurling. I guess the only thing to expect from MAC officials is the unexpected. Much like the worst version of Big Brother.
  • After a drive that had a little bit of everything from Quake getting the mojo going to dumb penalties on both squads, Cards have to settle for a 20-yard Scott Secor field goal. Getting points? Good. Cutting the lead to one possession? Also good. Settling for field goals against an explosive MAC offense isn’t a sustainable strategy. Cards need to hold the Zips on this drive and put points on the board before the half or it’s going to be a long afternoon. 14-6 AKR
  • Another drive, another Akron touchdown. This Zips offense is humming right along. It’s been a balanced rush/pass effort and to be honest, the BSU defense hasn’t played poorly save for a couple plays. Hasn’t mattered to the Zips and it’s just been a consistent good performance. They also get the ball to open the 2nd half, so the next drive is critical for the Cards to either score or make it to half. Preferably both. 21-6 AKR
  • Giant completion down the sideline to Jordan Williams and he shows again why he’s one of the best in the conference. Pretty timed ball from Milas as well. Followed by a KeVonn Mabonn on the reverse and he finds the end zone on a 13-yard scamper. Absolutely critical must-score drive and the Cards came up big. 21-13 AKR
  • Ball State defense with a giant three-and-out to give the offense a chance. Fair caught at the 11, and the Cards move it quickly down the field, thanks in large part to a roughing the passer call on the Zips followed by an offsides. Gives Secor a shot from 46 out, pushes it wide right as the half comes to a close. But still, the spark this offense showed on the final drive is encouraging. Akron gets the ball to open the 2nd half.


  • Reading through the tweets and messageboards, the BSU defense is getting absolutely crushed online. They do step up and force a punt on Akron’s 1st 2nd half possession. After the touchback, the offense takes over on the 20, down 8, needing to grab the momentum.
  • BSU drive stalls out, and the Secor field goal is pushed wide right. Immediately followed by a Ben Ingle interception. Cards need a score here.
  • Cards work it down inside the 10, have to settle for a 23-yard Scott Secor field goal. Disappointing given the strong need to get 7s here rather than 3s but points are points I suppose. 21-16 AKR with 6:32 to go.
  • Zack Ryan wasn’t the intended receiver, but he made the wide open catch on the Akron INT. A heavy does of Quake, mixed with some Akron penalties, a botched review on a potential drive-extending Jordan Williams catch, and the 3rd quarter comes to a close with a Scott Secor 27-yard field goal to come.


  • And the final quarter opens with said Scott Secor kick, straight and true and the Cards pull within a field goal of the outright lead. 21-19 AKR
  • Cards force a defensive stand and an Akron punt, then put up their own three and out. Of course, that’s followed by a muffed Akron punt return and a Jack Milas QB keeper touchdown because that’s just the way this game was scripted, don’t you know? 2-point conversion is no good, but BSU has the lead with under 12:00 to go. 25-21 BSU
  • After a blocked punt, Cardinals convert with a touchdown run from Quake Edwards, running the score to 19-0 good guys since the half. We are under 7 minutes to go and it’s 32-21 BSU. I would think an argument could be made that Akron has certainly tried their best to give the game away, but credit to the Cardinals for being able to capitalize.


OTPcast 6.13

OTP Cast Logo200We’ve got our pod, we’ve got our cast
Tied to me tight, tie me up again
Who’s got their earbuds in my friend
Into your heart, we’ll beat again

Sweet like candy to my soul
Ball State rocks and Ball State rolls
Lost for the Cards we’re so lost

Jason and Alan are back to break down the victory over Central Michigan and preview the pending contest at home versus Akron. Can the Cardinals make it two in a row?! They also touch on the UNC academic scandal, the FSU/Notre Dame epic game, and whether or not Jason (who recently flew out west) is worried about catching ebola. All that and more in OTPcast 6.13!

Couple of different ways to hear this puppy. Viewing OTP in a feedreader? Then visit the site or download the mp3 from iTunes by clicking here. Leave us a rating on iTunes if you like what you hear! Enjoy…


Ball State vs Akron: By the Numbers

By the Numbers200I remember when Ball State was caught smack in the middle of a 20+ game losing streak. I said to my current girlfriend at the time that if the Cardinals could ever find the victory train, the mental breakthrough may rattle off a couple of wins. If memory serves me correctly, once the streak was ended that’s exactly what happened. After a win last Saturday on the road against CMU, and now returning home to face Akron, the same could very well be argued for with little rebuttal from opposing views.

Akron has been in some respects surprising in that they were quite awful for a significant period of time, winning just six games total for the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons. Last year saw Terry Bowden improve the Zips to 5-7, and some were even pointing to Akron as the darkhorse contrarian pick for the MAC East if you didn’t want to pick BG.

The Zips come in to Saturday with a 4-3 record with their biggest win on the road against 4-3 Pitt. Their three other wins were against FCS Howard, Eastern Michigan, and Miami, all at home. Their losses are Penn State and Ohio on the road and Marshall at home. So in all reality, they have no shameful losses and the majority of folks are picking Akron to win this weekend. Vegas opened the line with the Zips as a 1-point favorite, but that has since shifted to two. Let’s see what the other numbers say…

Akron @ BSU:
National Stat Rankings & Statistics
NCAA Stat BSU Akron
Scoring Offense 91st (25.7)
105th (23.1)
Rushing Offense 81st (151.7) 107th (125.0)
Passing Offense 89th (210.1) 38th(266.0)
Total Offense 106th (361.9) 85th (391.0)
Scoring Defense 75th (27.4) 12th (18.1)
Rushing Defense 103rd (197.0) 33rd (131.4)
Passing Defense 51st (218.7) 59th (226.1)
Total Defense 76th (415.7) 44th (357.6)
Sacks 122nd (5.0) 16th (21.0)
Sacks Allowed 28th (10.0) 73rd (15.0)
Turnover Margin 16th (+6) 16th (+6)
3rd Down Conv. % 75th (39.6%) 112th (33.0%)
Opp. 3rd Down Conv. % 92nd (42.4%) 32nd (34.0%)
Red Zone Conv. % 60th (84.6%) 126th (64.3%)
Opp. Red Zone Conv. % 12th (71.0%) 9th (70.0%)
Punting 47th (42.2) 17th (44.5)
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 28th (45.6) 121st (81.9)

So Ball State has a 7-9 disadvantage with one draw in the above statistics but given that Akron’s record is 4-3 with a 2-1 MAC mark, I would have expected the difference to be considerably more lopsided. The biggest concern is Akron’s great at passing the ball for chunks of yardage, but once they get in the red zone they struggle to put points on the board. That’s a critical point of emphasis for the defense. They also are stout defensively, more so against the rush than the pass, so it may be a Milas kind of afternoon for the Cards. Kickoff at the Scheu on Saturday is 2pm and we’ll see you there.

Happy Birthday to Coach Joey Lynch!

birthday-cakeTo start a website about the Cards, you have to be 100% BSU through and through. That’s a badge and a distinction the creators of this site wear with honor. However, there is one particular Cardinal who trumps even the OTP crew in his Cardinal-dom, and that is today’s birthday boy, offensive coordinator Joey Lynch. A Delta High School grad, former BSU QB, current BSU OC, and son of former head coach Bill Lynch, it’s safe to say that the Lynches have put their stamp on the program and Joey continues that legacy. At 31 years of age and an offensive coordinator at a D1 program, Joey is well on his way to making a statement on behalf of BSU. Happy birthday, Coach. I think a win on Saturday is a great gift to get yourself.

Ball State vs Central Michigan: By the Numbers

By the Numbers200As we indicated earlier this week, Saturday’s contest on the road against Central Michigan is big for so many reasons, not the least of which is breaking the losing streak the Cardinals are mired in, which currently sits at five games. It’s also imperative to win this weekend to have any hope of landing in the neighborhood of .500, and even that will require an upset or two along the way. Suffice to say, this weekend’s contest is big.

It’s game number two in the Jack Milas era, and after last week’s performance, big things are expected from the redshirt freshman. That’s especially true given Jordan Williams’ return to form against Western Michigan in the Cards’ last outing. The loss last weekend on Homecoming? Disappointing. The news circling the drain this week around the Cards? Not so great. But nothing cures those sorts of ills like a win. Let’s see what the numbers say…

Central Michigan vs BSU:
National Stat Rankings & Statistics
Scoring Offense 94th (24.7)
101st (23.0)
Rushing Offense 69th (162.2) 84th (150.9)
Passing Offense 88th (212.2) 87th (214.1)
Total Offense 96th (374.3) 104th (365.0)
Scoring Defense 76th (27.2) 55th (23.7)
Rushing Defense 100th (199.7) 60th (151.1)
Passing Defense 43rd (214.3) 30th (204.0)
Total Defense 78th (414.0) 38th (355.1)
Sacks 122nd (4.0) 107th (8.0)
Sacks Allowed 28th (8.0) 100th (16.0)
Turnover Margin 44th (+2) 64th (+/-0)
3rd Down Conv. % 71st (40.6%) 53rd (42.7%)
Opp. 3rd Down Conv. % 86th (42.1%) 75th (40.2%)
Red Zone Conv. % 77th (81.8%) 54th (84.6%)
Opp. Red Zone Conv. % 23rd (73.1%) 68th (89.3%)
Punting 45th (42.7) 107th (39.1)
Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game 47th (49.0) 16th (39.7)

Out of 17 statistical categories, CMU leads in 10, which I honestly thought would be higher. To me, the above stats highlight some critical elements. CMU’s defense is stronger against the pass than the run, so it may be a FEASTMODE kind of day for Quake. The biggest issues come on the Cardinal defensive side of the ball. CMU has allowed an abnormally high amount of sacks this year, and getting to the quarterback is something that BSU has struggled to achieve. Those sacks could create a favorable down and distance and force CMU punts, which they have also struggled with this year. With teams fairly evenly matched, this could be a game that comes down to little things like field position, turnovers, and penalties.

Poo Dollar Incident Update

PoopgateThere is new information this afternoon on the Poopgate 2014 incident that we talked about yesterday. First and foremost is Coach Pete Lembo’s disciplinary response or lack thereof, as well as an edit to the narrative that changes the entire scope of the story.

CPL announced late Tuesday that there would be no formal discipline for his players involved in the incident. Instead, CPL is hoping they use this as a learning tool for the future. Said Lembo, “I think this is more of just a lesson of being careful of who you are with and who you associate with, and understanding that if you’re a student athlete, even if you’re not guilty of doing anything you’re just being connected with somebody that is.”

CPL also indicated that only two of the three players named were present for the incident, in conflict with the police report of the story. There were two potential identifications made by Brothers Bar & Grill staff, neither of which had the same individuals or number of individuals pointed out as responsible for the incident.

Whether they were or weren’t present is sort of a moot point, as Muncie PD has elected to not charge the players with anything, unlike the alleged 17-year old suspect, who was charged with battery with bodily waste. I’ve run a lot of background checks in my day for hiring purposes and I can safely say that’s one charge I’ve never seen, but one that would definitely spike my interest in a candidate if for no other reason to hear what that whole thing was about. Putting poo dollars on a tip isn’t nearly as exciting as my fantastical imagination would make it out to be, somewhere in the neighborhood of a poo fight in an office or throwing a bucket of pee pee on someone to right any number of wrongs.

It sucks for the players that this has generated some bit of notoriety for the program, but they say no publicity is bad publicity. However, this probably was significantly lower than #2 on the things CPL wanted to deal with. I hope he told the players to pull up a stool and take heed to his advice. With any luck, the players and team can wipe this stain off their image and move forward. It does, however, have the possibility of soiling the name of the team for a short time. In fact, I’d say it’s just a shitty situation all the way around.

Better Know: Central Michigan

Better Know Logo 200It’s rare to have a season-defining game this early in the year, but on Saturday, the Cardinals have just that. Sitting at 1-5 on the season and in the middle of a five-game losing streak, a win on Saturday changes the tide and proves that Ws are in fact possible. It would be a tremendous confidence boost for Jack Milas to get his first win, and the defensive effort needed for a victory would hopefully springboard into future defensive performances.

The flip-side of that coin is a loss would set a tone that is just as defining for the back half of the season. A loss puts the Cards at 1-6 and would guarantee a sub-.500 season barring some significant miracles. Of the seven games remaining, a case could be made this is the 3rd-most winnable, behind UMass and Eastern Michigan. So yes, this game is important. It’s time to Better Know: Central Michigan.

Team: Central Michigan Chippewas
Record: 4-3 (2-1 MAC)
Ranking: Unranked
Head Coach: Dan Enos
Series: BSU leads 24-21-1
Last Meeting: BSU W 44-24 in Muncie in 2013

Central Michigan Head Coach Dan Enos
… is in his 5th season at the CMU helm.
… has an overall record of 23-33 with a MAC record of 15-20.
… is a former Michigan State quarterback, having the 3rd best pass completion percentage for his career and the 8th highest total yards.

When it comes to CMU versus Ball State
… this will be the 47th meeting of the Cards and Chips, with BSU having won five of the last six meetings between the two.
… the Chips hold the advantage in games played in Mt. Pleasant, holding a 12-9 series advantage.
… kickoff on Saturday is at 3:30 and is watchable via ESPN3.

The Central Michigan Chippewas
… certainly have a steady recruiting base within their own borders. 74 players on their roster hail from the state of Michigan along with 6 of their coaches, 3 of whom played at CMU.
… are coming off a road win in Dekalb over the Northern Illinois Huskies.
… have a stellar running back in Thomas Rawls. The senior is averaging 168.0 rush yards per game.
… recorded their losses at home against Syracuse, at Kansas, and at Toledo. Their wins came at home to Chattanooga, at home to Ohio, and on the road against Purdue and NIU.

Final Word: Western Michigan

The Final Word 200I woke up on Saturday morning so excited for football. It was Homecoming Saturday in Muncie, there was a winnable game on the BSU schedule, things could get no better. That line of thought served me for roughly 38 seconds until I stood up, took about three steps toward the bathroom, and felt that weird feeling in your mouth that says something is about to happen, none of which you are going to enjoy. Twenty minutes later, after I had seemingly purged all that I could possibly have in my system and was ready to attack my Homecoming journey with renewed vigor and energy, it happened again. And it was in the next ten minutes as I laid on the cold tile floor in my family’s southern Indiana homestead that I thought perhaps a Homecoming journey wasn’t in the cards for me.

There was reason to be excited, you know. Western Michigan was far from a world beater and the Cardinals needed a win in the worst possible way. 1-4 starts aren’t in CPL’s make up and 1-5 starts damn sure aren’t. There was a new quarterback under center, Quake was still ready to chew up yards in the backfield, and perhaps most importantly, across the field stood perhaps Ball State’s biggest advantage: Western Michigan’s head coach PJ Fleck. Boat oars be damned, if it came down to coaching, I’ll take my shot with CPL.

The too long, didn’t read version of events: Ball State dropped their fifth consecutive game to fall to 1-5 on the season and now sit at 0-2 in MAC play. Were there positive things to take away from Saturday? Of course, and we’ll get to those below. But there was a sizable takeaway as well, and speaks to a much larger issue at play for this year’s dreadful start. Most notably: “This is not the BSU team that we are used to under Coach Pete Lembo in any way, shape, or form.” There is nothing to be giddy about when Ball State gives up a 28-7 lead with 3:36 to go in the 2nd quarter. There is nothing to be giddy about a defensive effort that allowed thee touchdown drives of four plays or less. There is reason to be excited about the offense not being so pedestrian and vanilla, but mired in a 5-game losing streak with some significant defensive woes sort of brings all facets back to Earth.

The Cards did play turnover-free football and actually had an advantage in time of possession, so that’s pretty awesome. Early lead aside, this was the definition of a 50-50 game, and it didn’t end up in the Cards’ favor. It stings more now because quite literally every 50-50 game and situation over the first three years of the CPL regime went to the good guys. So we sit with a 1-5 record with a road game against CMU looming and some discipline issues circulating the team. It’s always a great time to be a BSU fan, but to call this anything other than challenging would be ignoring the obvious. Your final word on Western Michigan…

bleak (adj.)

Some other thoughts on the loss…

  • It was great to see Jordan Williams get back to his old self with 11 catches, 179 yards, and 2 TDs. That is the kind of effort that we all thought was the norm for JW and I’m thrilled to see the little nagging injuries no longer hamper his ability to make a statement kind of stat line.
  • Scott Secor perfect again on his five extra points and one field goal.
  • Punter U may be back in action as Kyle Schmidt and Secor combined for a 50.3 yard average on their punts for the day.
  • When the defense gives up 161 yards and 3 scores to a single player as they did on Saturday in the case of Jarvion Franklin, that makes it quite difficult to get a W.

The Cards are on the road this Saturday against Central Michigan. The Chips come in at 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the MAC. Kickoff is at 3:30 and Vegas opened the line at CMU (-6.5), where it was quickly bet up to CMU (-9) at some books. We open the CMU festivities around these parts tomorrow in earnest, so fire up for that.

Three Footballers Involved in Poo Dollar Incident

BSULogoI think I can go ahead and end my blogging career with that headline, because frankly, if you had asked me to list the top 25,000 things that I would ever write on here that wouldn’t be on the list. It may not be on any list. Ever. But it is on the police blotter for Muncie from Sunday, as the Ball State Daily News reports.

You can check out the full report here, which would be advisable, if only so you can know what we’re talking about. The “Too long, didn’t read” version: waitress picks up bill booklet, smells something foul, finds dollars inside, dollars covered in poo. Which is just disgusting. The person who allegedly did it was 17 and with a group of six people, three of which happened to allegedly be Darius Conaway, Keenan Noel, and Nicholas Isaacs.

It raises multiple questions…

  • Why are three football players hanging out with a 17-year old? Simple explanation would be a family member. Worst case would be a recruit. If the latter is the case, I’d think that handing in poo dollars means you are no longer considered for a scholarship.
  • If the poo dollars were the only tip, then that’s kind of cheap. Two bucks (poo-covered or otherwise) on anything more than a $10 bill is a bit on the tightwad side of things.
  • Logistically, I’d like to have a conversation with the alleged suspect to see how the transfer took place. Was it direct poo to dollar? Was there a go-between like tp or the kid’s hand? This brings up multiple issues that have not been addressed. Get on that, Zaleski.
  • Is there another program that has odder arrests than BSU? From someone stiffing a cab driver on a ride from the Village to Beacon Hill (maybe $3), to someone getting  a DUI in a parking garage, to people stealing boner pills from a drug store, to now this. Big schools may have memorabilia, guns, and weed but here in the MAC it’s a boner pill poo dollar fiesta.

In at least a little bit of seriousness, I’d expect at least some form of missed game time for all three of the athletes involved, however on the periphery their involvement may have been. For Conaway, it may be worse, and probably should be, given his prior incidents that weren’t too positive for the program. CPL doesn’t strike me as someone who appreciates black eyes for the program, so I can’t imagine this is going to go over well. Also, I can only hope someone references this whole thing in Brothers’ Yelp review, because if not, we’re doing it wrong.


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