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I think you can avoid nailing into the studs. Cut the rectangular hole and matching piece for the patch. Take a couple of pieces of 1 by wood, longer than the three foot hole. Slide them into the hole, one to each side, if possible partly behind the sides of existing drywall, partly behind the hole. Drive a drywall screw through the old drywall above the hole, into the 1 by. Do that again at the bottom. When you insert the new piece of drywall screw that into the same wood.
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