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UConn’s 2017 leader in rushing TDs abruptly leaves Huskies

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Well, this was certainly unexpected.

Nate Hopkins entered summer camp in 2018 as one of UConn’s leading returning rushers.  Monday, Randy Edsall confirmed, the running back has decided to exit the Huskies football program and transfer to an undetermined elsewhere.

Hopkins’ role on the team seemingly served as the trigger for the departure.

“We told him what we thought his role would be, as a short-yardage and goal-line guy,” the head coach said according to the Hartford Courant. “We just try to be honest, and if guys don’t want to do the role that we think, if they think they can have a bigger role somewhere else, God bless them and good luck to them.”

This past season, Hopkins, a three-star 2016 signee, led the Huskies with rushing touchdowns and was second on the team with 343 yards rushing.  He averaged just 3.7 yards on his 92 carries, however.

If Hopkins were to move on to another FBS program, the Texas native would likely have to sit out the 2018 season, leaving him with two years of eligibility beginning with the 2019 season.  He could also transfer to a lower level and be eligible immediately.

Mike MacIntyre reportedly out at Colorado at season’s end

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It appears yet another head coach will hit the unemployment line in the not-too-distant future.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, the ABC affiliate in Boulder is reporting that “Colorado will part ways with football coach Mike MacIntyre effective at the end of this season.” School officials have thus far declined to comment on MacIntyre’s future with the football program.

Based on a new deal agreed to in January of last year and approved five months later, CU would owe MacIntyre a buyout in excess of $10 million if he’s fired without cause.

In five-plus seasons with the Buffaloes, MacIntyre has posted a 30-43 record overall and 14-38 in Pac-12 play.  Coming off a 5-7 season in 2017, the Buffs won their first five games of the season and climbed to 19th in the Associated Press Top 25.  However, they’ve dropped five straight since then, with three of the five losses coming by 10 or more points.

Colorado will play its home finale this weekend against Pac-12 South leader Utah before closing out the regular season at Cal a week later.  The Buffaloes need to win at least one of those games to reach bowl eligibility.

Right now, there are officially four openings at the FBS level: Bowling Green (HERE), Kansas (HERE), Louisville (HERE) and Maryland (HERE).  Last year, 20 FBS jobs came open for one reason or another during the 2017-18 spinning of the coaching carousel.

Nick Saban bristles at suggestion to sit Tua Tagovailoa vs. FCS team this weekend

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A few days before a final, final decision needs to be made, it doesn’t appear that Nick Saban is inclined to err on the side of extreme caution when it comes to the triggerman of his high-octane offense.

Late in the third quarter of top-ranked Alabama’s shutout win over Mississippi State, Tua Tagovailoa took a shot to his right knee, the same knee that gave him issues earlier this season, and didn’t return. As a Week 12 date with FCS Citadel looms, conventional wisdom had Saban sitting the Heisman Trophy front-runner and saving him for the annual Iron Bowl grudge match in the regular-season finale.

Essentially, the head coach scoffed in the general direction of that wisdom, stating he has no plans to sit Tagovailoa and that the true sophomore, as well as his teammates, need to do a better job of limiting the quarterback’s exposure to hits.

From al.com:

No,” Nick Saban responded when asked if sitting Tagovailoa is a consideration. “Why would we do that? To say that this is not an important game or he doesn’t need to play? I think we need to do a better job of the people playing around him doing what they’re supposed to do so he doesn’t get hit. And he needs to do a better job of stepping up in the pocket and getting rid of the ball, which he had several opportunities to do. Some of these hits can be avoided just by better execution, and I think that’s what we’re going to focus on, not trying to take a guy out of a game so he can’t improve or do what he needs to do to get better or do what we need to do to get better as a team and develop some confidence in each other.

While Tagovailoa is expected to start — provided, of course, he doesn’t suffer a setback in practice during the days leading up to what’s essentially a scrimmage that counts in the standings — it’s highly likely that his day will consist of, at most, a couple of quarters worth of work.

The Crimson Tide should make short work of Bulldogs as they have beaten FBS teams this season by an average score of 49-13. Against ranked teams, that average is 33-8.

Safety who started first four games transferring from Oklahoma State

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A one-time starting member of Oklahoma State’s secondary has opted to take his leave of Mike Gundy‘s football program.

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Thabo Mwaniki announced that, after “thoughtful consideration,” he has decided to transfer from the Cowboys. The defensive back gave no specific reason for his decision to transfer.

The fact that the Denton, Texas, native lost his starting job a third of the way through the 2018 season, however, would likely be a good place to start in looking for his reasoning.

Mwaniki, a three-star member of OSU’s 2017 recruiting class, started the first four games of this year. However, the safety was replaced after Week 4 and never returned to the starting lineup. All told, he played in seven games this season, none of which came the last three weeks.

Last season, Mwaniki started two games for the Cowboys; he was the only true freshman on either side of the ball to start a game for OSU in 2018.

Blood clot recurrence sidelines Oklahoma’s Jalen Redmond for rest of season

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In July, Lincoln Riley confirmed that, because of blood clots, Jalen Redmond would not play at all in 2018. However, the true freshman defied the initial medical odds and ultimately returned to play in three games thus far this season.

Unfortunately, that’ll be his only action of the year.

According to Riley, Redmond had a recurrence of the blood clots that plagued him over the summer and will not play again in 2018. Redmond had been medically cleared in October and saw his action in three games that month.

The good news for both the player and the program is that, because of the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, Redmond won’t lose a year of eligibility because he played in fewer than five games. Thus, he will have four years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2019 season.

Redmond was a four-star 2018 signee, rated as the No. 8 weakside defensive end in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma; and the No. 135 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Just six of the two dozen signees in the Sooners’ class this year were rated higher than Redmond.