Butch Jones: 'When you play a team like Ohio State, every mistake you make is magnified'

Ashley Beach
The Columbus Dispatch

Arkansas State wasn’t favored to defeat Ohio State on Saturday, but it did defeat someone: itself.  

“When you play a team like Ohio State, every mistake you make is magnified,” Red Wolves coach Butch Jones said.  

The microscope fell on Arkansas State as soon as it stepped foot into Ohio Stadium, too. The lens narrowed in even further when it fell 45-12 after an error-filled outing.  

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Now, the Red Wolves want to turn the focus inward and reflect on the experience. They plan to look at Saturday with a critical eye and find one good thing to expand on.  

Special teams are the spot where the Red Wolves did not beat themselves. Ryan Hanson punted for 361 yards and helped push the Buckeyes as far back as he could. He punted for more than 50 yards three times. From snap to kick, the specialists were executing.  

Having only one part of the scheme working isn’t the way to win a football game, though. Arkansas State needed a prominent defense and it needed a loud offense. It didn’t have either against Ohio State.  

The Red Wolves found themselves plagued by their own mistakes after the first 25 minutes of the game. They allowed the Buckeyes to move downfield with ease, and it ended with them in the end zone almost every time. The defense just wasn’t there for the Red Wolves. They could not keep up with the speed of the Buckeyes.  

September 10, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; 
Arkansas State Red Wolves running back Johnnie Lang (2) leaps away from Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback JK Johnson (4) during the first half of Saturday's game at Ohio Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch

“We gave up too many explosive plays on the perimeter of our defense,” Jones said. “I believe we gave up four plays of four or more yards for touchdowns. You can’t do that.” 

Arkansas State found itself in the red zone over and over, yet it never managed to convert for a touchdown. The Red Wolves were 5 for 20 on third-down conversions. Every point Arkansas State scored was off of field goals by Dominic Zvada. 

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The mental errors the Red Wolves made caught up with them as they found that quiet rhythm on special teams. They had no way to climb out of the holes they were in. 

“Once we (were) in rhythm, we (were) in rhythm,” quarterback James Blackman said. “It was just more of the self-inflicted wounds that hurt us in the end. 

Jones was happy to see the competitive grit his players had. He said he was disappointed in the outcome but not discouraged with the path his team is on.  

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