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New Mexico State putting together FBS independent schedule for 2018

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The Sun Belt is giving Idaho and New Mexico State the old heave ho after next season, and college football’s newest orphans are going about their futures in separate ways. Idaho has announced it will join the Big Sky Conference beginning in 2018, while New Mexico State is going to go it alone as an FBS independent.

Which means, obviously, New Mexico State will have to build its own schedule, each and every year.

The Aggies have begun doing so for 2018. On Monday they announced a home-and-home with Wyoming that will see the Cowboys visit Las Cruces on Aug. 25, 2018 — New Mexico State’s first game as an independent — while the Aggies will make a return visit to Laramie on Sept. 21, 2024.

It will be the two programs’ first meetings since 1953 — the only time New Mexico State and Wyoming have met on the field.

“Deputy AD Braun Cartwright and I have put in an enormous amount of time on football scheduling with the focus on securing games with regional Group of 5 opponents,” New Mexico State AD Mario Moccia said earlier this week. “Unlike in 2013 when we played four Power 5 conference programs, which had ripple effects on future year’s schedules, we have really focused on the home-and-home model.”

On Thursday, New Mexico State another home-and-home with current Sun Belt bunkmate Louisiana-Lafayette. New Mexico State will visit Lafayette on either Sept. 8 or Oct. 6, 2018, while the Ragin’ Cajuns will return the favor on Nov. 16, 2019.

New Mexico State also has a previously scheduled game at Minnesota on Aug. 30, leaving nine games still to be filled. The Aggies could seemingly find dance partners in fellow FBS independents BYU, Army and Massachusetts (Notre Dame is a different story), but even then New Mexico State still has to fill seven more games with the 2018 season only 20 months away.

WATCH: Colorado mascot Chip takes groin shot from t-shirt gun

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Yep, if you saw “Colorado mascot Chip takes groin shot from t-shirt gun,” you absolutely read it correctly.

Ralphie is Colorado’s much-beloved live animal mascot.  Chip, on the other hand, is Colorado’s equally beloved costumed human mascot.  And it was the latter who, during this past weekend’s win over FCS New Hampshire, took a direct hit very near no man’s land when a t-shirt gun he was operating somehow malfunctioned and backfired.

Not surprisingly after that turn of events, Chip was carted off the field for further examination, but not before giving a thumbs-up to the crowd on his way out of the stadium.

The good news is that, one, Chip is good to go and, two, Colorado is on a bye this weekend anyway, so any lingering aftereffects of the shot to the beanbag brothers should subside by game-time.

Adrian Martinez ‘looks better and better every day’ for Nebraska vs. Michigan

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As Nebraska looks to reverse its worst start to a season in over six decades, they appear likely to have the triggerman of their offense back under center in the Big House this weekend.  Possibly.

Adrian Martinez suffered a mildly controversial leg injury in their season-opening loss to Colorado and didn’t play in last weekend’s humbling loss to Troy.  With a trip to Ann Arbor to face No. 19 Michigan on tap this Saturday, Martinez had been deemed a game-time decision earlier this week, although it appears more and more likely as kickoff gets closer that the true freshman quarterback will take the field for the Cornhuskers against the Wolverines.

Maybe.

“He’s making progress,” offensive coordinator Troy Walters said Wednesday by way of Rivals.com. “He looks better and better every day, so we’ll see come Saturday what his status is, how he’s feeling. We’re going to make the best decision with the team in mind and our future in mind, so we’ll see where that goes. But he’s making progress each day…

“We want to make sure he’s healthy. We want to make sure he’s close to 100 percent. We’re going up against a good defense. They fly around and they’re physical, so we’re not going to put him in any harm or any danger. He’s got be able to make all the throws and make all the runs and things of that nature, so we’ll take our time and make sure that he’s healthy and he gives us the best chance to win.”

Prior to being injured against the Buffaloes, and in his first career start at the collegiate level, Martinez connected on 15-of-20 passes for 187 yards, a touchdown and an interception while rushing 15 times for a game-high 117 yards and two more touchdowns.  His replacement, walk-on Andrew Bunch, threw a pair of interceptions in his first career start in the 24-19 home loss to Troy the following week.

Martinez is the only scholarship quarterback currently on NU’s roster available to play this season.

FCS was landing spot for Michigan State transfer Darien Tipps-Clemons

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
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Unbeknownst to many, one of the handful of Michigan State transfers this past offseason had already quietly found a home.

As noted by mlive.com, Darien Tipps-Clemons is now playing his collegiate football for Eastern Kentucky. As the Colonels play at the FCS level, the linebacker was eligible to play immediately this season.

Tipps-Clemons has played in all three games in 2018 for the Colonels, and has been credited, per the team’s official website, with three tackles, one quarterback hit and one blocked kick.

In late February of this year, Tipps-Clemons announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer from Michigan State.

A three-star member of the Spartans’ 2017 recruiting class, Tipps-Clemons was rated as the No. 45 player at any position in the state of Ohio. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Including this season, Tipps-Clemons will have three years of eligibility he can use.

TE Jalen Harris to leave Auburn as graduate transfer, will use new rule to redshirt this season after playing

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Auburn tight end Jalen Harris is going from catching passes for the Tigers one week to transferring the next.

In a tweet he posted on Wednesday afternoon, the senior announced he was leaving the team as a graduate transfer but would remain on the Plains this semester as he finished classes.

Harris, who is from down the road in Montgomery, has played on special teams for the Tigers but hasn’t been too involved in the offense in his natural position. He has caught just four passes in three seasons at Auburn, including one in last year’s Iron Bowl against rival Alabama and a 12 yard reception this past week in a loss to LSU.

Far more notable for Harris’ career on the field is this move off it. He’s one of the first players to publicly take full advantage of the new redshirt rule (which allows a player to maintain a year of eligibility while playing in up to four games) and will also wind up leaving the team mid-year to be a graduate transfer as well.

The 6-4, 250 pound Harris was considered by 247Sports as a three-star prospect coming out of high school with offers from a number of SEC programs and others like Nebraska, Louisville and Miami as well.