Kickoff Countdown: What impact will Walter Stewart’s absence have on Syracuse?

In the days leading up to each SU football game, The Juice Online will address questions about the team in our “Kickoff Countdown” segment.

Today’s question: Cincinnati defensive end Walter Stewart is out with an upper body injury. What impact will that have on Syracuse’s game against Cincinnati on Saturday?

stewart

Stewart is out with an injury

Cincinnati, mired in its first losing streak of the season, is missing one of their top defensive players.

Defensive end Walter Stewart is out with an upper-body injury and won’t be back to play the Orange. Stewart, who has gotten plenty of looks from NFL scouts, had 22 tackles and four sacks on the season.

» Related: How big was SU’s win over USF?

His absence has coincided with a two-game losing streak for the Bearcats.

“It’s not the reason why we’ve lost the last two games but when you take an NFL-caliber player out of your defense who’s a team leader and gives you an edge presence there’s going to be a drop-off,” Bearcats coach Butch Jones said on Monday during the Big East weekly coach’s teleconference. “He’s a great player and you just don’t replace those guys.”

Without Stewart chasing him, Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for a career-high 416 yards and a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to rally Louisville past Cincinnati 34-31. Bridgewater was named the Big East’s Offensive Player of the Week.

» Related: Grading the Orange’s performance against the Bulls

“This was a game where we really missed Walter Stewart in every regard,” Jones said. “We missed his production and his leadership and everything he brings to our edge defense. He’s still going through consultation with getting second and third opinions but there has been no timetable (for his return) that has been reached.”

That can only help an Orange offense that is coming off a week in which it gained more than 500 yards in a 37-36 win over USF.

But how much will it help, and what kind of impact will Stewart’s absence play? Voice your opinions below or Tweet us your opinions!

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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