Football Event Preview

BYU faces Cal in final regular-season game

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

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
Berkeley, California

BYU Game Notes

Notes

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.

QUOTES

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.

On Cal:

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.

On Christian Stewart:

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.