Kickoff Primer: What to Watch

Before heading to Rutgers Stadium to tailgate or kick back in the recliner to watch Friday's home finale against Louisville (11 a.m., ESPN2), 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.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers tries to keep its bowl hopes alive, but will need a win to do so. The Scarlet Knights enter the Friday morning kickoff (11 o'clock) trying to end a four-game losing streak on senior day. 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 Mark Harrison – The sophomore has developed into the top deep threat and best possession receiver. He will need to do both against the Cardinals.

2. DT Scott ValloneLouisville likes to run the ball. Getting penetration through the middle of the line is the best way to shut down the running game.

Khaseem Greene
3. FS Khaseem Greene – He delivered big hits in the second half at Cincinnati, and will asked to do the same thing against the Cardinals.

4. WR Jeremy Deering – For Rutgers to have any shot, the Wildcat must produce yards. With Mohamed Sanu limited, it means Deering will carry the load.

5. DE Justin Francis – His play has improved drastically, to the point where he is disruptive to an offense.

Who has the most to prove?
1. SS Joe Lefeged – He has built up plenty of equity, but he missed too many tackles and was late getting to the QB on too many blitzes last week.

2. QB Chas Dodd – He is coming off a 300-yard, four-touchdown game, but he had trouble against Syracuse's blitz, and Louisville loves to blitz. Let's see how much he learned.

Jonathan Freeny
3. DE Jonathan Freeny – He was expected to be Rutgers' top pass rusher, but he hasn't gotten to the quarterback very much. 4. CB Brandon Bing – He had a world of difficulty trying to cover Cincinnati's receivers, and needs to show he can bounce back and perform in a big way.

5. MLB Steve Beauharnais – A middle linebacker should be dominant in Rutgers' defensive scheme, but too many times Beauharnais has had difficulty making plays.

Looking to build
1. WR Keith Stroud – He has 11 catches this season, and six came last week. With Sanu ailing, Stroud gets more chances.

2. CB Marcus Cooper. He got playing time in the second half against the Bearcats and looked good. It showed why the staff wanted to move him to cornerback.

Kyle Sullivan
3. P Kyle Sullivan – He filled in for ailing Teddy Dellaganna the last two weeks and is now the favorite to be the punter in 2011.

4. RB Jordan Thomas – After not being involved in the game plan for a few weeks, he caught a touchdown pass and was an option in the passing game last week.

5. TE Paul Carrezola – With D.C. Jefferson slowed with an ankle and making mental lapses, the red-shirt freshman has been more involved the last two weeks.

Poised for a breakout
Manny Abreu
SLB Manny Abreu – His knee is feeling much better and should be a strong influence against a run-heavy Louisville offense. Abreu plays physical, and has the speed and power to dominate a game. Rutgers defense needs him to have a big game in this one.

Freshman worth watching
J.T. Tartacoff
WR J.T. Tartacoff – Not much has been heard from him, but with Sanu's injury the true freshman was involved much more last week and look for that to continue. A few catches will go a long way in helping the offense, and also building a foundation for next season.

Scarlet Report Top Stories