I really thought Christian did a phenomenal job (Saturday) as our quarterback. We thought the game might be a one-possession game and that’s just about what it turned out to be – Bronco Mendenhall

PROVO — BYU quarterback Christian Stewart had a career day at California, but it wasn’t without some anxious moments.

The senior from Orem threw for a career-high 433 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in last Saturday’s 42-35 victory against the Golden Bears.

Stewart also overcame a couple of big miscues against Cal, including a pick-six in the first half that was nullified when the officials ruled that Stewart's knee was down before he threw the ill-advised pass.

“I tried to make anything happen, then I tried to throw it away,” he said. “Next thing I know, they’re running to the end zone. I had no idea that I was even down. I was so happy (when the touchdown was reversed). I felt terrible (about the pick-six). That was a big momentum-shifter.”

In the third quarter, BYU had a first-and-goal at the Cal 1-yard line. Stewart threw a lateral intended for Paul Lasike. The ball bounced on the turf and the Bears’ Stefan McClure picked up the ball and ran 22 yards.

“It was a bad throw,” Stewart said. “Not much you can do.”

When coach Bronco Mendenhall watched that play unfold on the sidelines, he felt helpless.

“It’s one of those dreams where everything’s in slow motion and you watch it happen,” Mendenhall said. “Other people move in fast-forward when you can’t move at all. That play seemed to take about 20 minutes.”

Later, Stewart threw a couple of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Jordan Leslie to help lift the Cougars to victory.

“I’m really happy I was able to keep my focus and bounce back from some really bad mistakes, some of the worst mistakes I’ve made in my career at BYU,” Stewart said. “I’m happy to battle back and make some big plays for us.”

Stewart said he appreciates having a receiver like Leslie.

“He’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever had. He’s a phenomenal athlete and an even better person. I’m so happy for him that he was able to make those catches down the stretch.”

Mendenhall was impressed with Stewart’s play Saturday.

“I really thought Christian did a phenomenal job (Saturday) as our quarterback. We thought the game might be a one-possession game and that’s just about what it turned out to be.”

BYU’S BOWL OPPONENT: The Cougars are expected to find out this week what team they’ll play in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22.

BYU will face a team from the American Athletic Conference. Most projections have the Cougars taking on either Cincinnati (8-3) or East Carolina (8-3).

BYU is scheduled to face both Cincinnati and East Carolina in 2015 during the regular season.

BLACKMON’S EMERGENCE: Wide receiver Devon Blackmon enjoyed his finest day as a Cougar last Saturday.

The junior college transfer caught six passes for 60 yards. Going into last weekend, Blackmon had caught three passes for 56 yards.

“He’s labored and learned about BYU football and the standards and what maturity is,” Mendenhall said. “It was really fun to see him emerge and make some critical plays at the right time.”

INDEPENDENT PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Two BYU players earned independent player of the week recognition.

Stewart was the offensive player of the week after his performance against Cal.

Punter Scott Arellano was the special teams player of the week after averaging 47.2 yards per punt on four kicks, with two punts of 50-plus yards and three downed inside the 20-yard line.