POCATELLO, Idaho — The University of North Dakota football team was forced to fly out of Bemidji, Minn., Friday afternoon in order to escape a considerable amount of snow — especially for October — in Grand Forks, only to be greeted by wintry weather in eastern Idaho.
Luckily for the Fighting Hawks, the Bengals play indoors at Holt Arena — the oldest active indoor complex in college football — and quarterback Nate Ketteringham can build off his performance last Saturday at the Alerus Center in a win over UC Davis, which came one week after a polar-opposite performance in snow during a loss at Eastern Washington in which the fifth-year senior turned the ball over six times.
UND and Idaho State (2-3) kickoff at 2:05 p.m. Saturday.
The Hawks, who improved to 3-2 with a homecoming win over then-No. 12 UC Davis, entered last week facing difficult decisions at quarterback. Ketteringham struggled against EWU, coming back for the first time off a knee injury in Week 1 against Drake.
Because Ketteringham's backup, fellow senior Andrew Zimmerman, was injured in Week 3 against Sam Houston State, the Hawks started against UC Davis with concerns about the health and ability of Ketteringham, with the only true backup option a true freshman in Tommy Schuster.
Yet Ketteringham silenced his critics, at least for a week. He threw for 279 yards against Davis, a UND career high for the Sacramento State transfer. Ketteringham's season-high in 2018 was 254 passing yards in a win over Montana.
Against Davis, Ketteringham was 29-for-40 with completions to seven different receivers and one interception. The 29 completions were the most in a game since Nov. 9, 2013, when UND had 31 against Northern Colorado.
"We had a crappy game at Eastern Washington, so it was a good feeling to see our team be resilient," Ketteringham said.
Ketteringham said he expects pressure in his position.
"In the spot I'm in at quarterback, it's going to be like that," he said. "There were a lot of people doubting us so it was good to prove some people wrong."
After missing games against North Dakota State and Sam Houston State, Ketteringham said he felt better in his second week back in the lineup.
"Obviously, I felt better because I wasn't freezing and it wasn't 20 degrees with windchill, so that definitely helped," said Ketteringham, a San Diego native who played in cold, windy conditions in Cheney.
Ketteringham hasn't had to shoulder the quarterback role alone in his return, either. The Hawks have utilized sophomore Brock Boltmann in a number of ways, including lining him up at quarterback.
Boltmann, a quarterback-turned-wide receiver, made big plays in the running game and passing game last week against Davis. He caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Ketteringham and had two runs for 47 yards. On one of the runs, Boltmann appeared ready to throw the ball before taking off on a run.
"We haven't scratched the surface of everything we can do," Ketteringham said. "Coach Freund is always coming up with a bunch of random stuff, so we're always trying to keep the defense on their toes and keep them guessing. I'm sure he'll come up with a bunch of new stuff."