The road for Indiana is not going to get easier.

And that, combined with the Hoosiers’ continuing misfires, which were never more evident than in the 35-21 loss Saturday night in Lincoln, are cause for rising concern in Bloomington.

The 3-0 start, when IU overcame itself at times to pull out close victories against Illinois, Idaho and Western Kentucky, feels ages ago and more like a mirage than reality. And the problems then, when Indiana was suffering slow starts, inconsistencies and bad offensive line play are starting to bubble to the top.

The Hoosiers looked like a mess at times against a Nebraska team that has an interim head coach who fired his defensive coordinator less than 2 weeks ago. After the loss, Indiana sits 3-2 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten — and boy does that Game 1 Friday night win over Illinois look gigantic now — with a schedule ahead that looms likely even more challenging.

Let’s take a look at the 3 biggest issues facing the Hoosiers:

Offensive misfires mounting

Indiana’s offense scored only 14 points Saturday against a Nebraska defense that in its previous 2 games had given up 49 points to Oklahoma and 45 to Georgia Southern.

Yet here was a Hoosiers’ team seemingly unable to get out of its own way, with an array of penalties, drops, miscues on the O-line, randomly called timeouts and other calamities. Indiana couldn’t stay on schedule offensively, which was the biggest hindrance to being able to put enough points on the board, particularly in the 2nd half, when the Hoosiers were outscored 14-0 to turn a tie into a double-digit loss.

In all, Indiana was penalized 11 times for 92 yards, but a closer look illustrates the offensive problems in particular: The Hoosiers were twice called for delay of game, they had a false start and then a holding penalty 2 plays later, an offensive pass interference, an intentional grounding and a block in the back on a punt return that set them back near their own goal line.

They all served to keep Indiana from manageable situations. Indiana only twice converted 3rd downs, once in the 2nd quarter when Connor Bazelak hit on a pass on a 3rd-and-8 and once in the 3rd when he connected on a 3rd-and-6. IU missed on the 13 other 3rd-down opportunities.

Indiana also had 1 turnover, on a 3rd-down interception, and a punt blocked for a touchdown when seemingly 8 Cornhuskers came through the Hoosiers’ protection to knock a boot away and race it in for a score.

It wasn’t a good look.

Schedule gets rough

Indiana is done with the (seemingly) easier portion of its schedule.

From here on, the Hoosiers don’t get many breaks, even returning home to Memorial Stadium after a 2-week road trip to Cincinnati then Lincoln. IU gets undefeated Michigan on Saturday in Bloomington, after the No. 4 team in the country went on the road to hold a bad Iowa offense to 14 meaningless 4th-quarter points in a 27-14 victory. Upstart Maryland, which is 4-1 after a big win over Michigan State, visits the following week.

Of the remaining 7 opponents, only Michigan State, at 2-3, is under .500, although Rutgers likely will be when the Hoosiers visit New Jersey in a few weeks. Still, IU is likely to be underdogs in at least 5 of the remaining 7 games, with Michigan, Maryland, Penn State, Ohio State and Purdue a combined 22-3.

Any road to 6 wins, and back to bowl eligibility after last year’s miserable 2-10 hiatus, likely included a victory Saturday at Nebraska.

Injuries/illness now issue

Zach Carpenter returned to Indiana’s offensive line after 2 weeks on the sideline. But the veteran’s hand injury forced him to shift over to left guard, with the starter there — Mike Katic — playing center. Tom Allen is looking for any sort of mix that will allow the offensive line to start to gel.

This wasn’t it. Bazelak was sacked 3 more times and chased around another half-dozen more. And Indiana rushed for only 67 yards against a Nebraska defense that couldn’t stop the run for most of the season.

But that’s not Indiana’s biggest personnel issue. Play-making wide receivers Cam Camper (illness) and DJ Matthews (injury) were out, leaving Balezak without many proven options. It showed. Receivers too often weren’t where they were expected to be and when they were sometimes dropped the ball.

It all needs to be cleaned up. But how?