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story.lead_photo.caption ( The Associated Press )

Arkansas State University follows its loss to Memphis on Saturday with another tough assignment this week against Big 12 foe Kansas State.

So, what needs to happen for the Red Wolves to shock the Wildcats this weekend?

"Well, somebody needs to block No. 56 is the first place I'd start," ASU Coach Blake Anderson said. "That dude can play."

No. 56 is Wyatt Hubert, Kansas State's preseason All-Big 12 defensive end. And he might be the best defensive player the Red Wolves will play this season.

"He's as good as anybody in the country. He'll be a great challenge for our offensive line," offensive coordinator Keith Heckendorf said. "They're a good football team. They're really well coached on defense. You can see that in how they play, you can see that in their scheme."

The 6-3, 270-pound defensive end had 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks for the Wildcats last season.

Arkansas State junior and starting left tackle Jarrett Horst likely will have the task of blocking Hubert in a pivotal matchup.

"He just plays the game how it's meant to be played. He's a physical player and seems to play with a lot of effort," said Horst, who was named to the preseason All-Sun Belt first team. "We're going to have to play a physical game and play with a lot of effort."

Hubert is not the only concern for the offensive line.

The Wildcats run a four-man front on the line, with Hubert mostly playing right defensive end, Bronson Massie playing left, and Drew Wiley and Eli Huggins playing the middle. The four starters weigh a combined 1,124 pounds.

"They're going to be big, physical guys. They're a Power 5, Big 12 opponent that has a lot of beef up front," senior center Jacob Still said. "They're going to be a little bigger than the Memphis guys. I don't think they're going to be as twitchy up front, but they do a lot on third down so we're going to have to really study and dive into the film and understand what they're trying to do to pick up all their blitzes and twists on third down."

Heckendorf said one of the main concerns is that Kansas State's four-man front is not something the Red Wolves are used to seeing, with Memphis and ASU's defense playing a three-man front. Kansas State's defense was one of the most efficient in college football a season ago, finishing 44th in total defense and second on third-down conversions, allowing 42-of-150 all season. Arkansas State's offense was 6 of 15 on third downs against Memphis.

"We came out and started fast against Memphis and hit them in the mouth the first few drives," Horst said. "I think just getting back to that and being consistent, playing a physical brand of ball like we're taught to do and that really is our culture here -- playing our brand of ball and hitting them in the mouth early will be key for this game."

Arkansas State's offensive line had its ups and downs against Memphis, helping the Red Wolves rush for 125 yards while also allowing 3 sacks, 5 tackles for loss and being issued two holding penalties.

The unit believes it is good enough to help the Red Wolves earn a victory.

"I think it's a tremendous opportunity and a chance for us to get a Power 5 win. They're a beatable team. That being said, we're going to have to go out there and execute," Still said. "I think we're going to have to play air-free football. We're going to have to execute. We're going to have to be more physical than them and I think it's going to come down to -- we're going to have to make the big plays when the big plays need to be made.

"I thought that's kind of what hurt us last week: When the big play needed to be made, we didn't make it. And I think to beat these teams, you're going to have to make some big plays."


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