Kickoff Primer: What to Watch

TAMPA, Fla. — has the impact players, who has the most to prove, which players are in "building" mode and much more before kickoff against South Florida.

TAMPA, Fla. — Rutgers plays conference game No. 1 against South Florida. Head coach Kyle Flood needs win to start the Big East off on the right way and has quite the challenge in the Bulls.

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. OLB Khaseem Greene — Greene has the speed and tenacity to shut down the South Florida offense and Rutgers needs a big game out of him tonight. Greene is huge in shutting down the run and controlling dual-threat quarterback B.J. Daniels.

2. CB Brandon Jones — Jones may still be inconsistent in coverage, but there is no doubting his play-making abilities. Two weeks and two touchdowns for Jones, who has a pick six and a blocked punt return on his resume.

Jawan Jamison
3. RB Jawan Jamison — Jamison needs a big game. The players behind him are all injured or have zero playing experience. Jamison can shoulder the load, but needs to stay healthy in the process.

4. WR Brandon Coleman — Coleman needs refinement in the red-zone but continues to make breakout plays. Coleman is the most dynamic offensive threat on the Rutgers roster and needs to be a big part of tonight's game.

5. LG Antwan Lowery — Rarely is an offensive lineman a playmaker, but Lowery has been a consistent run blocker and is the most improved starting lineman on the roster from last season.

Who has the most to prove?
1. QB Gary Nova — The passing game has not been good and that ultimately falls on the shoulders of the quarterback. Blame the receivers and the scheme as much as you want – and they both certainly deserve it – but in the end, passing comes down to the quarterback. Nova lost his starting job against USF last season and needs a big game tonight on national television.

2. RG Taj Alexander — Alexander played solid when he filled in last week, but will have to step it up in a huge way tonight. Expected to make his first career start, Alexander needs to show the same consistency as Andre Civil in the run game.

Gary Nova
3. TE Paul Carrezola — Redshirt freshman Tyler Kroft performed admirably as a backup, but Carrezola is healthy and needs to step up big. D.C. Jefferson continues to be inconsistent and the consistency of Carrezola needs to shine through. A sure-handed target like Carrezola could be exactly what Nova needs to heat up.

4. DE Marcus Thompson — Thompson wants double-digit sacks this season, but has just one tackle and a bad ankle heading into game three.

5. H J.T. Tartacoff — You can't pass up free points. Rutgers needs to clean up its PAT execution.

Looking to build
1. SLB Jamal Merrell — Merrell flew around the field last week and looked like Greene with his ability to swarm the ball and make plays. His unique size and speed at linebacker makes him a huge player in trying to slow down Daniels.

2. WR Miles Shuler — Shuler's biggest plays in a Rutgers uniform have been running the ball and blocking last week's punt. It's time for him to get involved in the passing game.

Jamal Merrell
3. DE Max Issaka — Issaka was all over the place and brought a ton of energy in his Rutgers debut. The question, however, is if he has any energy on a short week after arriving for the season out of football shape.

4. C Matt McBride — There were not center-quarterback exchange issues when McBride came in the game. Should Betim Bujari have any setbacks with his leg, center becomes McBride's job.

5. OT Keith Lumpkin — Lumpkin will only see the field if there are injuries tonight, but the big man looked great in his first college appearance At this point, Lumpkin is the best option as a backup tackle if Civil is unable to play.

Poised for a breakout
Jawan Jamison
RB Jawan Jamison — The injury to Savon Huggins puts Jamison even more into a feature back role. Even if Huggins plays, it will be a Jamison heavy run game. With vision, cutting ability and burst behind the line of scrimmage, Jamison could be in for a huge day, playing his first college game in his home state.

Freshman worth watching
Ben Martin
RB Ben Martin — Martin's first appearance came late in the 26-0 victory over Howard. The fourth-string running back to begin training camp, Martin becomes the primary backup if Huggins does not make any major improvement. It will be a baptism by fire for Martin, who brings 4.4 speed, but minimal experience to the position.

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