This is Cincinnati, which has just two games under its belt for which we can judge it from. But one of those contests certainly showed us a sign of what this team -- and particularly this defense -- may be capable of when given big opportunities.
The Bearcats get one of those opportunities Saturday at FedEx Field, when they "host" a Virginia Tech team that has struggled up front.
In a season-opening rout of Pitt, the Bearcats sacked Tino Sunseri six times and recorded 10 tackles for loss. The motor behind that defense was end Walter Stewart, who notched 3.5 of those tackles for loss and two of those sacks, in addition to forcing a fumble.
Yes, the Hokies' Logan Thomas is better than Sunseri, despite being outplayed by Sunseri when they went head-to-head two weeks ago. At 6-foot-6, Thomas is much bigger, too. Bringing him down may present a whole other challenge for the Bearcats entirely, but they should get enough chances to do it.
Stewart was on the sideline in Miami in 2009, watching his teammates face the Hokies in the Orange Bowl. He told reporters this week that he hasn't forgotten that night, which ended in a 20-7 loss, and he has been looking forward to another chance against Virginia Tech.
Coach Butch Jones has called Stewart one of the best leaders he has ever had, and Stewart has said that he has a goal of at least 10 sacks this season. He can get on the fast-track to that goal with another strong performance this Saturday against Virginia Tech.