WATCH: NDSU, UND reflect on Saturday's games, look ahead to conference games this week.
Bison jump into conference games without bye week. Local product Bo Belquist proving to be valuable for Hawks' offense
NDSU football wrapped up its non-conference schedule at Arizona on Saturday. They arrived back in Fargo at 7 a.m. on Sunday. It's a quick turnaround as they open Missouri Valley conference play Saturday against South Dakota.
This is the first time since 2010 that NDSU has gone from non-conference to conference games without a bye week in between.
"Probably after non-conference would be great just because it gives you a chance to re-evaluate, but it's easier said than done,” said head coach Matt Entz. “With the way scheduling is finding games, we don't necessarily always have that convenience."
UND football is also coming off a trip to Arizona. In a back-and-forth win over Northern Arizona Saturday, New Rockford product Bo Belquist scored a late touchdown to help the Hawks pick up a 27-24 victory. Belquist now has 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns through three games.
“The play he gets in the end zone was just a great individual effort. As was CJ Siegel's pick six, but with (Belquist) it was just individual effort,” said head coach Bubba Schweigert. “Then he'll do little things. Like, on our last touchdown pass he picks up a block to buy us a little extra time.
“He has a really good feel for the game. He is very valuable to us and the best thing about him is he keeps working to get better.”
Questions about NDSU football from the off-season are lingering into week three of the season, especially with the Bison defense.
NDSU has been rotating players at middle and outside linebacker and, with recent injuries, several younger players had to step up on the defensive line, leading to miscues in Saturday's loss to Arizona.
"We have to get to a point where we can pick a guy,” Entz said. Someone just has to give me a reason to pick a guy. I think it was a reality check for them.
“(We are) always talking about pad level and sometimes it takes getting punched in the mouth a little to realize that wasn't coaches talk, that was real."