LOS ANGELES — Tyler Rouse provided the only true highlight for Boston College in Saturday’s 35-7 loss at Southern Cal when he scored on a 29-yard run in the fourth quarter to dash the Trojans’ hopes for a shutout.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,’’ said the 5-foot-9-inch, 200-pound freshman running back from Baldwinsville, N.Y., whose first career touchdown came in the spectacular setting of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. “The O-line was doing their thing today and had a good push up there.’’
Rouse, who rushed three times for 38 yards, entered in the fourth quarter with the Eagles trailing, 28-0. He relieved a weary Andre Williams, who carried 17 times for 38 yards against a stout USC front seven that stacked the box.
“Really, I just wanted to help the team,’’ Rouse said. “The team was really fighting and I felt when I got in there I wanted to help compete and help fight with them.’’
On his touchdown, Rouse took a handoff from quarterback Chase Rettig on a counter-draw play and followed a picket line of blockers that walled off USC’s defense along the left side. He scored untouched.
“He’s an exciting player,’’ said senior right tackle Ian White. “He works really hard. Coming in as a freshman, you see this short, stocky kid walk in but you could tell he worked really hard in high school and wanted to play right away and make a difference. It’s nice to see him score his first touchdown in a stadium like this.
“Hopefully it’ll give him the confidence to be a solid player the rest of this year and in the future.’’
Rouse wasn’t the only freshman running back to get a look against USC.
Coach Steve Addazio, in an attempt to bolster an anemic return game, deployed Myles Willis as a kick returner. He made three returns for 58 yards, including a long of 26 yards in the fourth.
“We got to build our young team,’’ Addazio said. “It was a great opportunity to take two young players on a big stage and get some experience. That’ll pay back for us in the future.’’
Rettig didn’t enjoy the triumphant homecoming he had hoped for —
“The biggest thing was getting to see my family,’’ said Rettig, of Sierra Madre. “We wish the team would’ve played better as a whole. We just need to move forward and make the corrections.’’
Rettig ran 24 yards on a naked bootleg around the left end on BC’s last series in the third quarter. Asked if he had visions of going all the way, Rettig said, “No. I’m not fast enough to do that. I was just trying to get us going a little bit. We just got to start faster.’’
Seen better days
BC’s defense, which recorded sacks by Mehdi Abdesmad and Josh Keyes, wound up getting stretched to the limit by a USC offense that rolled up 521 total yards, including 86 on a 14-play touchdown drive on the Trojans’ second possession. “We had some alignment issues today and we had some assignment issues today on defense, a little bit like we had in the first half against Villanova in Week 1,’’ said Addazio, who said senior linebackers Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis were limited in practice last week. The BC coach also indicated Pierre-Louis and Keyes left Saturday’s game, leaving BC shorthanded at strong-side linebacker. “We were running low on Sams and we had some guys out of position,’’ Addazio said . . . Pierre-Louis was high school teammates with USC running back Silas Redd in Norwalk, Conn. Redd missed his third consecutive game with a knee injury. He transferred from Penn State last year following the Jerry Sandusky scandal . . . BC’s defense, which was on the field for 62 plays, got 11 tackles from Spenser Rositano and 10 from Sean Sylvia. They were the only Eagles with double-digit tackles . . . Nate Freese averaged 50.4 yards on his eight punts, booming a 63- and 65-yarder . . . Alex Amidon was held to a pair of receptions for only 23 yards by USC’s tight man coverage. “We talked about it at halftime, ‘How do we get him the ball?’ ” Addazio said. “But coverage was such that they played tight man coverage on us. Then they come load the box. So it’s not easy. It’s really hard on your run game and you’ve got to get open and beat man [coverage].’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.