For the heart few Rutgers fans making their way to Milan Puskar Stadium for Saturday's game against West Virginia (noon, ABC), or for those ready to kick back in the recliner to watch the season finale, make sure you know what to be looking for. ScarletReport.com has the impact players, who has the most to prove, which players are in "building" mode and much more.
MORGANTOWN, W.V. – This isn't anything close to what Rutgers
or the Big East hoped for when the schedule came out, but a five-game losing streak has the Scarlet Knights out of a bowl for the first time in six years.
Today's season-finale at West Virginia (noon, ABC) is meaningless on many levels, but winning for the first time at Milan Puskar Stadium and ending a 15-game losing streak to the Mountaineers.
ScarletReport.com will be in attendance to report on the action and bring reaction from it, but ScarletReport.com 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.
1. CB Marcus Cooper
– He already was likely to play a lot, and with the injury to Brandon Bing
it could be more, and with his inexperience, WVU will look his way often.
2. DE Alex Silvestro
– He has a high motor and can impact the running game, but Keeping containment will be key for him against quarterback Geno Smith
and running back Noel Devine
3. CB David Rowe
– With the way the secondary played the last two weeks, Rutgers should be ready for WVU to throw the ball around. It means pressure on Rowe as well as Cooper.
4. WR Mark Harrison
– He is averaging 18.6 yards per catch (41) and has eight touchdown receptions, and will need to make big plays for the offense.
5. RB Jordan Thomas
– Can his shoulder handle another week of pounding. He ran 120 yards on 16 carries, and is the Scarlet Knights' best hope for controlling the ball.
Who has the most to prove?
1. SS Joe Lefeged
– This is the second straight week the senior has occupied the top spot. He looks fatigued, and needs to muster up the energy for one last big game and not miss tackles.
2. DE Jonathan Freeny
– One of the reasons Rutgers' defense is having trouble against the pass is the lack of pressure from its defensive ends. After 9½ sacks last season, he has a ½ sack this season.
3. RB De'Antwan Williams – He may finally get a chance for more carries, but has shown little in the last three games as he mustered 17 yards on eight carries against Syracuse
4. MLB Steve Beauharnais
– One thing the sophomore did last season was spy quarterbacks well. As a middle linebacker he is yet to put his mark squarely on a game.
5. The Offensive line – It is maligned and criticized, and has one more chance to give promise for next season unless there is a influx of junior college talent. Fifty-five sacks allowed a 2.8 yard per carry average says it all.
Looking to build
1. DT Michael Larrow
– His playing time is increasing, and his level is getting better as a result. He will have a chance to make plays in the running game.
2. WR Keith Stroud
– He has 11 catches in the last two games, but now it is time for him to get down the field more.
3. LB Antonio Lowery
– Some missed assignments were a factor against Louisville, but his effort was very good and he leads the Scarlet Knights in tackles (97) by 24.
4. QB Chas Dodd
– He was 14 of 32 and sacked nine times last week. He needs to get rid of the ball more quickly, and have a good feeling going into the offseason.
5. WR Jeremy Deering
– He was banged up a bit against Syracuse and hasn't been in a factor in the last two games.
Poised for a breakout
DT Scott Vallone – He is going to be the leader of the defensive line next season, and what better way to set the tone for the offseason than a strong performance in the season finale? His five QB hits are tops among Rutgers' defensive linemen.
Freshman worth watching
DT Isaac Holmes – He has received more playing time lately, and there will be playing time to be had next season. The 6-3, 277-pound Holmes has played in two games this, but keep an eye open to see if No. 72 gets some action.