AMES, Iowa - Finding a way to compete with upper-echelon teams like Nebraska has been a goal of Iowa State's since Dan McCarney became coach in 1994.McCarney and the Cyclones achieved that goal on Saturday in a 49-27 defeat to the Cornhuskers, but failed to find a way to win in the fourth quarter with the game hanging in the balance and NU clinging to a 21-20 lead.In that fourth quarter, the new look 'Clones reverted to their old ways against NU, giving up 28 points. Because of the late collapse, the Cyclones went home without a win against NU, something that has eluded them since 1992. Because of the late collapse, ISU left Jack Trice Stadium unsatisfied."I'm not going to give you a patented speech," McCarney said after the game. "We're sick and disappointed that we didn't win this game. We went out to win this game, not look respectable."McCarney displayed that desire to win when he called for an onside kick to start the game. The gamble was successful and the Cyclones showed NU that they came to play."He told us before the game that we were going to do it," strong safety Adam Runk said. "We were all thumbs up and ready to do it and we executed it. It was a big play at the time and gave us a little momentum right away."Even though Iowa State failed to capitalize on McCarney's trickery and was forced to punt, the Cyclones would draw first blood on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Sage Rosenfels to Craig Campbell on the next drive. The duo, along with fellow wide receiver J.J. Moses, proved to be a thorn in the side of NU's defensive backfield all day as they torched the Blackshirts for 346 passing yards and two touchdowns.Passing became a necessity for ISU after the Husker defense showed a renewed enthusiasm for stopping the run in the first half. NU held ISU, which had averaged 227 yards in its first four games, to 12 and eight yards, respectively, in the first and second quarters and 37 yards total in the game.With their starting running back, Ennis Haywood, hurting with bruised ribs, Rosenfels took to the air to try and beat NU's stacked defense in the box.The senior quarterback threw the ball 42 times and completed 11 of them to Moses, who often ran routes out of the slot and crossed up NU defenders most of the day. That allowed the ignored Campbell and Rosenfels to hook up for three big plays."We knew Nebraska would be trying to stop the over route to J.J. and the safety was cheating a little bit," said Rosenfels, who completed three passes to Campbell for 119 yards. "On the back side we have a post, and Craig was doing a good job of running that route and getting down the field."Moses said Nebraska was a little stunned early on, and he could see desperation creeping into the eyes of some of the Huskers as the game wore on."They knew that they had to dig deep to come down here and beat us," he said.NU did dig down in the final 15 minutes, scoring 28 points and allowing a lone 15-yard touchdown reception by Moses with 3:06 left in the game."They can put up points in a hurry and, obviously, they did that," McCarney said. "Our first half defense overall was outstanding and in the second half it wasn't."The Huskers gained over half of their total yardage for the game in the first half (258 of 500), but were limited to 13 points by the Iowa State defense. Cyclone defensive back Jamarcus Powers picked off NU's Eric Crouch with 8:12 left in the second quarter and returned it 40 yards for a score. Powers' touchdown, the first returned on Crouch in his career, gave the Cyclones the lead going into halftime and much-needed momentum."I was thinking that there needs to be a big play made and why not me to make it," said Powers, who saw NU run similar passing routes against Iowa and Missouri.But McCarney didn't believe plays like Powers's would be enough. The ISU coach tried several trick plays in the game with mixed results."I was trying to give my kids an edge and make them understand that I trust them and we were going for the win in this game - not trying to be respectful and play close," McCarney said.While the opening onside kick was a success, two other calls went against the Cyclones in the end. A fake field goal, when ISU was driving against the wind, was called in the second quarter on a fourth-and-five on NU's 24-yard-line. The option by Cyclone holder Casey Baldwin to the right side was stopped for a two-yard loss and the Huskers took over on downs."It looked like a slow-motion option," McCarney said. "It looked better in practice than it did today."Iowa State's second blunder featured an interception of a Lane Danielson pass by NU's Troy Watchorn. Danielson rolled to the right after receiving a pitch from Rosenfels and threw up a wobbly pass as Chris Kelsay and Randy Stella pressured him. The turnover followed an 11-play, 70 yard scoring drive for NU, which gave the Huskers a 28-20 lead. NU scored shortly after the pick on a one-yard Correll Buckhalter run and went up 35-20.Despite the ineffectiveness of some of his calls, McCarney was there to leave everything he had on the field, and Cyclone players were not questioning his decisions after the game."I think we just tried to throw everything we had at them today," Rosenfels said. "I don't think we had anymore exotics than normal today."An emotionally draining defeat might spell doom for a other team, but McCarney and others vowed to keep up the intensity in the next couple of games and for the rest of the season in ISU's quest for a bowl bid."We know that one game doesn't make your season," Powers said. "You can play with the best team in the country one week and not be sound against another opponent the next week."Moses, a senior, said he wouldn't let Nebraska become Iowa State's Kansas State of last year."I promise you that this will not happen to this year's ball club," said Moses, who saw his team drop six out of its last seven games last season after losing to the Wildcats. "We got a good team and showed it, but we have to learn how to play third and fourth quarters."