"There was a time at Ball State where this would have been a moral victory. That's not going to happen. We have to find a way to win these games," he said.
The Cardinals led Iowa 13-3 with just less than six minutes to play. The Hawkeyes out together touchdown drives of 69 and 59 yards to escape with a 17-13 victory.
"I think it came down to missed assignments at the end of the game for us on defense," said Ball State Linebacker Zack Ryan, who totaled a team-high 10 tackles. "The entire game, we were shutting them down, getting them into third and long. But in the end, they got us in the passing game. It just came down to missed assignments."
Lembo made no excuses. He said his team did not perform well enough for 60 minutes to earn the win.
"If you're playing a more modest opponent, you might not get exposed," he said. "But against a team like this, you have to play an extremely clean football game in all three phases. We did some good things and we competed, but we didn't play a clean enough football game to get a win."
Watch the highlights from the Ball State post-game press conference right here: