Lee gets start

Zac Lee started the game at quarterback and was shaky out of the gate. But he settled in nicely and led a nine-play, 42-yard touchdown drive late in the first quarter. He made two nice throws on third-and-long to keep the drive alive.

Bad breaks

Nebraska couldn’t catch a break for much of the day. For instance, Lee lofted a perfect deep pass over the shoulder of wideout Niles Paul in the second quarter. Paul caught the ball and appeared to be headed toward the end zone, but fumbled inside the 10-yard line while trying to stay in bounds.

Two to go

Despite all its turnovers, Nebraska still had a chance to salvage a victory in the final four minutes, but Zac Lee fired interceptions on back-to-back possessions, and Iowa State ended a 15-game losing streak in Lincoln dating to 1977.

Brian Christopherson’s take

I concur … with Bo Pelini. Don’t dare put this one on Zac Lee.

Are you tired … of the quarterback “controversy?” How about a running back “controversy?” Hello, Dontrayevous Robinson. His fumble was a killer, but at least it happened fighting for extra yards.

Got the feeling … that players were told to not talk about the quarterbacks at all after the game. Both Mike McNeill and Mike Smith didn’t comment when asked about Lee’s performance.

Saw the replays … and I think the officials got every review right.

Game in Haiku

Anger from the stands

Hold on to the (dang) football

No, no, no, no, no.

Reader questions from the Life In The Red blog

1. Are we just a step away? Or two steps? Or in retrograde?

Based on the last two games, we’ll take option three. Wait, doesn’t retro mean something from the past? Maybe we’ve hit on something here. Maybe the option is what’s needed to pump some life into the Nebraska offense.

Sorry about that, your question deserves a serious response.

Defensively, Nebraska is there. Any time you have eight more turnovers in a game than the opponent and lose by only two points, that shows how dominant you are on that side of the ball.

Nebraska’s offense, on the other hand, is in a major funk and no solution seems to be in sight. Will a switch in quarterbacks help? Bo Pelini said Zac Lee was an easy choice for Saturday, but offensive coordinator Shawn Watson indicated freshman Cody Green was right on Lee’s heels in practice last week.

The Huskers seemed to be building their offense around Roy Helu, but after he lost two fumbles Saturday, they may now turn to freshman Dontrayevous Washington. We’ll not get into the inconsistency shown by receivers.

Bottom line: It’s looking more and more like NU will have to hold its opponent to a couple of touchdowns if it hopes to string together more than a couple wins in its last five games.

2. How is the psyche of the defense when it comes out and play lights-out only to watch the offense make mistake after mistake? Do the Blackshirts get frustrated, perhaps challenging the offense?

If you mean confronting players from the offense, let’s hope there’s a higher maturity level on this team than that. There are enough guys who played defense last season to know that most of the time it was the offense that bailed out the 2008 Huskers.

Tackle Ndamukong Suh acknowledged the obvious, saying it’s tougher when the defense has to keep the game low-scoring, but “you just have to roll with the punches.”

Not that he’s intending any be thrown at the offense.

“We know what they can do, as they did it … at the beginning of the season,” Suh said. “It’s different teams (now), but we still know our offense is potent and will be potent again. They just need to work out some kinks and … we have to put them in positions where they ultimately have no other choice but to score.”

3. I don’t recall seeing the players with their arms locked together during the Tunnel Walk before today. Maybe, I just missed it. But, if new, why? Is there a problem with team unity?

That’s the reason for the locked arms, to show that this team remain unified.

“Just unity,” defensive tackle Jared Crick said of the one-for-all walk onto the field. “After last week, a couple of things might have separated some guys.”