October 24, 2009
Scroll down or click here to join the Doc's game day live blog, covering every game all day long.
Iowa State 9, Nebraska 7. Cornhusker fans didn't know who their quarterback would be before kickoff, and maybe it wouldn't have mattered if it had been freshman Cody Green instead of embattled incumbent Zac Lee -- Lee, after all, wasn't responsible for any of five Cornhusker fumbles, three of them killing obvious scoring drives that Lee helped march inside the Iowa State 10-yard-line. With 355 yards and six drives crossing into ISU territory, it wasn't like Nebraska didn't move the ball.
Even Lee's three interceptions today, damning as they were, aren't as much of an indictment of the offense under his watch as the cumulative effect of the missed opportunities and plain lethargy that's piled up over the last month. In four games against non-Sun Belt competition, frankly, the 'Huskers can't find the end zone:
• at Virginia Tech (L): 15 points, two turnovers, zero touchdowns.
• at Missouri (W): 27 points, two turnovers, three quarters without a touchdown before a sudden fourth-quarter outburst.
• Texas Tech (L): 10 points, two turnovers, no touchdowns through the first three quarters.
• Iowa State (L): 7 points, eight turnovers, no touchdowns though the last three quarters.
The issue against was a parade of ill-timed turnovers rather than moving the ball on a consistent basis (which they did), but the result is the same: In 16 quarters against respectable competition, Nebraska has been held out of the end zone in 13 of them. For a team that was ready to book its tickets to the Big 12 Championship after the late rally to beat Missouri, that's a killer pill to swallow. (Uh, not literally, please, guys.)
Iowa State gets plenty of credit for hanging in there and doing the "opportunistic" thing -- the Cyclones improve to 5-3 in Paul Rhoads' first year, just one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2005 -- and Nebraska is not finished in the Big 12 North despite falling to 1-2 in-conference; obviously, any division currently topped by Kansas State is wiiiide open down the stretch. But if Cody Green was seriously in the discussion to start today, any future justification for keeping him on the bench will be an amazing bit of to watch unfold.