Kickoff Primer: What to Watch

Before heading to Nippert Stadium to tailgate or kick back in the recliner to watch today's Big East matchup against Cincinnati (7:30 p.m., SNY), make sure you know what to be looking for. has the impact players, who has the most to prove, which players are in "building" mode and much more.

CINCINNATI – Rutgers looks to end a three-game losing streak and give a boost to its quest for bowl eligibility tonight (7:30) at Cincinnati, where the Scarlet Knights look to win for the first time since 1987. will be in attendance to report on the action and bring reaction from it, but also has you covered leading up to the game.

Who will make the biggest impact, who has the most to prove and who is the player to watch? Well, we've done our best to identify those things, and offer a few other fun tidbits.

Impact players
1. WR Jeremy Deering – For the second straight week the freshman occupies the top spot. He ran for 166 yards last week, and with Mohamed Sanu slowed with an injury, Deering will need to carry the bulk of the Wildcat again this week.
2. MLB Steve Beauharnais – Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros can hurt a defense with his arm and his feet, so Beauharnais' ability to keep an eye on and track Collaros is huge.
Mark Harrison
3. WR Mark Harrison – With Sanu's injury and the reliance on the Wildcat, the passing game has suffered. The only receiver flourishing is Harrison, who has 25 catches and can take advantage of Cincinnati's young secondary.
4. SS Joe Lefeged – He will have a chance to make plenty of tackles against the Bearcats' spread offense, both in the passing game and against the run. If he does well, it bodes well for the defense.
5. CB David Rowe – With the Bearcats' athleticism at the receiver spot, Rowe's speed will be tested. The chances to create turnovers exist.

Who has the most to prove?
1. QB Chas Dodd – He was benched after going 3 for 11 last week against Syracuse. There will be ups and downs for a freshman, but how they come back from it is the biggest thing.
2. QB Tom Savage –Coach Greg Schiano said he could play two quarterbacks, and if that is the case, Savage needs to show he can again lead the offense. He had the chance in the second half against Syracuse, but took a pair of crucial sacks.
D.C. Jefferson
3. TE D.C. Jefferson – He is hobbled by a sore ankle, but he also has not been part of the offense. Some of that has to do with the game plan, but also with a few drops lately.
4. LG Desmond Wynn – Sometimes he looks like he can be the long-term answer at left guard, and then he gets beat soundly and the offense suffers a negative play.
5. OC Kirk Ciarrocca – From the screen-pass safety at South Florida to the first-down sweep against Syracuse, play calling has come under question. Like the refs, when the conversation revolves around the play caller, it usually is not a good thing.

Looking to build
1. FS Khaseem Greene – He broke on the ball quickly and even had an interception last week, and now will have to patrol the secondary and help control Cincinnati's passing game.
2. OG Antwan Lowery – Lining up in the backfield as a lead blocker was effective in the Wildcat last week. Now that Cincinnati had a week to prepare, will it change Lowery's effectiveness?
Alex Silvestro
3. DE Alex Silvestro – He had 1½ sacks against the Orange, and his speed and quickness could allow him to get to Collaros regularly.
4. SLB Manny Abreu – He returned from a knee injury to record four tackles a week ago, but now he will be asked to cover Bearcats tight end Ben Guidugli as well as help against the run.
5. DB Brandon Jones – The sophomore played an increased role as Logan Ryan went to the bench in the middle of last week's game, and should get plenty of action against the spread offense.

Poised for a breakout
Chas Dodd
QB Chas Dodd – The game plan was much different against Syracuse's blitzing defense last week, and against a young defense this week he should have more time and be given more chances to throw. He was effective with short passes against USF, and could use his pump fake to confuse the secondary.

Freshman worth watching
Jeremy Deering
WR Jeremy Deering. He is running the Wildcat, so he will be easy to see. But watch how he makes his body small to get through openings, and also check out how decisive he is when he makes a cut.

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