“I’m so happy for our team–the few, we lucky few,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “We knew this was a really tough opponent, it was going to take at least 30 points to win, and it played out exactly as we planned it.”
Christian Stewart threw five touchdowns on 23 of 38 for 433 yards and one interception. BYU’s wide receivers came up big against Cal, as Juergens had two touchdowns and 107 yards (a career-high), and Leslie had 155 yards and two touchdowns. Paul Lasike led the running backs with one touchdown and 63 yards.
Up 42-35 after a 38-yard touchdown catch by Leslie, BYU played tough defense during Cal’s final drive. The Bears converted on fourth down with a 12-yard pass to Harper, but Robertson Daniel and Michael Davis both stopped potential touchdown passes to hold onto the lead and win the game 42-35.
With 11:49 left in the game, Stewart found Leslie for an 83-yard reception to go up 35-28. It was BYU's first lead since going ahead 14-7 in the first quarter, but Cal answered right back with a 23-yard reception by Trevor Davis to tie it back up at 35-all with 9:17 left.
Algernon Brown caught a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter with 9:12 left to tie the game again at 21-21. He powered through three defenders to make his way to the end zone. Stewart kept the drive alive by finding Terenn Houk for a 13-yard reception to convert on the third down.
With 8:25 left in the third quarter, PoVey intercepted Jared Goff and returned it 27 yards. Juergens had a 29-yard reception to get BYU within a yard of the end zone. Stewart fumbled the ball on the 1-yard line, which was recovered by Cal’s Stefan McClure for 22 yards. The Bears took advantage of the turnover with Tre Watson scoring a 9-yard rushing touchdown to go up 28-21 with 4:12 left in the third quarter.
The Cougars bounced back and rushed the ball up the field for a touchdown. Lasike avoided four Cal defenders for a 28-yard reception, which put Stewart in position to find Juergens for a 9-yard touchdown reception to even the score at 28-28 with 1:08 left in the third quarter.
BYU scored on the first drive of the game. A couple of penalties against Cal kept the drive alive for BYU. Lasike powered over the Bears’ defense to score the first touchdown of the game and put the Cougars up 7-0 with 12:18 left in the first quarter.
Cal answered right back with a touchdown of its own in its first drive. Goff threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler in the end zone to tie the game 7-7 with 7:37 left in the first quarter. Bryce Treggs caught two passes for a total of 20 yards in this drive.
Juergens caught his second touchdown pass of the season to put BYU up 14-7. He caught a 47-yard pass from Stewart with 1:04 in the first quarter. Brown kept the drive alive when the Cougars went for it on fourth down and he rushed for the first down. BYU was 3 for 3 on fourth downs.
The second quarter saw two touchdowns from Cal. Lawler caught two touchdown passes in the second quarter alone. The first was a 16-yard pass from Goff deep in the end zone with 13:44 left in the half to tie the game up at 14-14.
Stewart threw an interception to Caleb Coleman to set up the Bears’ second scoring drive of the quarter. BYU’s defense almost stopped the second touchdown after holding the running game for two downs, but Goff found Lawler to convert on third down and score to go up 21-14 with 7:29 left in the second quarter.
"The fans filled the whole section up there today," Mendenhall said. "We had authentic support, loyal support, heartfelt support, and the combination was just a magical experience."
The Cougars will participate in the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. EST.
BYU faces Cal in final regular-season game
PROVO, Utah – BYU football hits the road for its final regular-season game Saturday, taking on California at 1:30 p.m. PST on the Pac-12 Networks.
For those not tuning in on the Pac-12 Networks, BYU's Voice of the Cougars Greg Wrubell will call the game live on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, available on byucougars.com, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM and the BYU Cougars app. Radio broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m. PST.
BYUtv will broadcast its Countdown to Kickoff starting at 12:30 p.m. PST. The postgame show begins after the end of the game.
Kickoff time is 1:37 p.m. PST. For information on how to watch the game, visit the Pac-12 Networks webpage.
BYU (7-4) at Cal (5-6, 3-6 Pac-12)
Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014 at 1:37 p.m. PST
California Memorial Stadium
Last meeting. BYU last played Cal in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl, when the Bears won 35-28 Dec. 22.
BYU vs. Pac-12. BYU has 70 wins against Pac-12 opponents, with the last one coming against Washington State in 2012, a 30-6 season-opening victory at home.
10 seasons. Bronco Mendenhall is now in his 10th season as head coach of the Cougars. Mendenhall has an 89-38 record, and BYU ranks 12th in total wins nationally during his tenure.
Beating the best. Since 2003, BYU has 17 wins against Power 5 schools, which ranks second among non-Power 5 schools behind fellow independent Navy. BYU has the longest season streak, with nine straight seasons with a Power 5 win.
Ray Guy Award Semifinalist. BYU punter Scott Arellano recorded the longest punt in BYU history and in the NCAA this season with an 81-yarder vs. Middle Tennessee. He broke former NFL punter Lee Johnson’s BYU record set in 1983 vs. Wyoming. Arellano also has the third longest punt (76 yards) in the NCAA this season.
11 weeks in the spotlight. BYU has been on TV stations available to a national audience for 11 of its 12 games this season. ESPN six times, ESPN2 once, ESPNU once, Fox Sports 1 once, CBS Sports Network once and BYUtv once.
Miami Beach Bowl. BYU will play in its 10th straight bowl game this season. Under Bronco Mendenhall, the Cougars are 6-3 in bowl games, including a four-game win streak. Mendenhall has taken BYU to a bowl game every year since he was named head coach.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall
Could the offense keep up with Cal?
Hard to say. I mean Cal-I’m not sure how many teams have kept up with Cal in terms of scoring, and I think we have to play good enough defense to not make sure it’s just that in terms of a scoring match only. We have to play good enough defense where it just doesn’t become that.
On Cal's QB:
The system makes him great. He certainly can throw the ball well and he makes good decisions. I think only six or seven interceptions on the year with a million throws. That’s an exaggeration but lots and lots of throws. The system has him delivering the ball accurately and on time, and he’s difficult to get to. I think they do a really nice job with their system.
On Cal’s improvement from last year:
Consistency. So again the games they’ve lost they’ve turned the ball over more frequently than the games they’ve won. A year ago they turned the ball over much more frequently.
How has Christian Stewart’s play boosted the team’s confidence?
I think Christian has gotten better every week. I think as the team has noticed, I mean he’s simply saying I’d like everyone to increase at the rate and improve at the rate Christian is. I think he’s kind of set the standard that way.
On getting ideas from Robert Anae working with Sonny Dykes:
We’ve already got some ideas. In fact, the system we’re defending was similar to what we did here at BYU Robert’s first time around. There aren’t many surprises. Cal is doing it with good talent at quarterback, at running back and at receiver. The talent base is a little bit different, but we’re familiar with what the concepts are. Robert’s been able to be helpful already.
Do you like Pac-12 games at the end of the season?
Yeah, I do. I like as many good teams as we can play from the beginning of the season to the end of the season. So I see this as a step in the right direction for November scheduling.
What can translate from the Savannah State game?
About the first quarter because that was really the execution and improvement we were hoping to see. We basically pulled as many players out of the game as we could. I thought our team handled it well. They were prepared well and they executed well.
On progression of the secondary:
Making progress. Really the improvement of–the development of Jordan Preator has been really helpful. Having Michael Davis as a depth player to spell Rob Daniel has been helpful. I think the emergence of Kai Nacua–Kai has had his hands on maybe more balls than anyone else in our secondary in limited play. When Dallin Leavitt got hurt a few weeks ago–even against Central Florida–it kind of forced us to play Kai and all of a sudden he’s in a pretty featured role. He’s making a lot of plays so I would say Preator and Kai Nacua are those two coming along that have helped us.
De’Ondre Wesley OL
On going back to home turf (Wesley is from Antioch, California):
It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be warm. Fun and I guess the last game of the season, so it’ll be pretty fun.
They play hard. They play really hard. An energized team–they go out and hustle to the ball, especially the defense. They hustle really well. They don’t quit and especially since they’re fighting for a bowl game, they’ll definitely play us really hard.
Oh yeah. Definitely. I feel like Stew(Christian Stewart) can line up a play against any team. He definitely has that confidence coming in for the rest of the season and having us in front of him definitely builds his confidence up a lot. He can control the offense the way he wants. I feel like Stew can play against anybody.
What is at stake for you guys?
Just winning out the rest of our games. Not taking another loss on our schedule. I feel like that’s the biggest thing for us is ending on a great note because in the middle we had sour note–October was a rough month. Just ending on a great note would be good for us. That’d be something worth striving for.
Zac Stout LB
Can Savannah State game carry over into Cal?
Yeah. We executed better than we have in a lot of games. I think that gave some guys some confidence. It was a definitely a confidence builder so people can see what they need to do and how to execute it.
On Cal’s offense:
They’re going to be slinging it all over the place. We have a lot of opportunities still. They do a lot of stuff over the middle and they do still run the ball.
On Cal’s QB:
From what I’ve seen he’s pretty good. He’s capable. He can throw the ball and if he needs to, he can run and get out of situations.