Southern Cal’s iconic “Fight On,’’ which is played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after every Trojan first down or touchdown, blared from a loudspeaker as the Boston College football team practiced on the grass field at Shea Field on a sultry Wednesday morning.
It seemed to play on a loop as the Eagles prepared for the din that awaited them in their first road game of the season Saturday against the Trojans.
For BC senior quarterback Chase Rettig, a native of Sierra Madre, Calif., the musical accompaniment certainly had a familiar ring to it.
“It’s going to be fun,’’ said Rettig, the only player on BC’s roster from the Golden State. “I grew up going to USC games and UCLA games, so it’ll be fun and have the chance to get to see my family because my family doesn’t get the chance to see me play a lot.’’
With each player allotted four tickets per game, Rettig said he likely will turn to his teammates for help in satisfying the numerous requests he’s received this week from family and friends.
“Yeah, I got a lot of texts from a lot of people back home excited about the game, but it doesn’t really matter unless you play well and you win,’’ said Rettig, who has started 35 career games for the Eagles, including the last 34 in a row. “That’s the biggest thing. We’re just trying to prepare well to do that.’’
Although the game will mark BC’s fourth overall meeting against the Trojans, it will be Rettig’s first against USC. The last time the Eagles faced the Trojans, quarterback Matt Barkley threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another in a 24-13 victory in the 2009 Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.
Saturday Rettig will guide his 2-0 team into his Southern California backyard to face a 1-1 Trojan squad that has been dealing with a QB duel between Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, who combined for 54 net passing yards in a 10-7 loss to Washington State in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
USC coach Lane Kiffin, who attempted to recruit Rettig when the coach was at Tennessee, resolved the matter this week when he selected Kessler to be the starter for the remainder of the season.
“Personally, I was kind of an under-recruited kid back home,’’ said Rettig, who played his first three seasons at La Salle High in Pasadena, Calif., before finishing up his senior year at San Clemente High, where he threw for 1,748 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for 349 yards to earn All-South Coast League first-team honors.
“It’s not like I wanted to go to a school in California, per se,’’ added Rettig, who chose BC in part because it was the first school that showed interest in him. “But, obviously, when you don’t get seen [in high school] and then you come back [as a college player], you just want good things to happen.
“But I’m not focusing on that. We’ve got to do everything we can to try and win this game and that’s my take on every game. But you can’t look at it like, ‘Oh, you’re going back home. Oh, your whole family’s going to be there.’ It’s all about the team and it’s going to be about trying to put our team in the best position to be successful on the field.’’
BC coach Steve Addazio knew Rettig, who has completed 30 of 44 passes for 408 yards and four touchdowns this season, just needed to remain consistent.
“Obviously he has to play a great game on Saturday,’’ Addazio said. “He knows it. Your quarterback is the guy. He’s got to play a great game. He’s got to get the ball out of his hands and be efficient and, on top of what he’s doing, be a leader.
“I think he’ll be all of those things.’’
While Rettig took a low-key approach, his teammates know how much the game means to him.
“We had Monday off, but [Tuesday] morning we came in and the wake-up was like 5:45 or something like that,’’ said senior right tackle Ian White, a cocaptain. “And at 5:20 I get a text from Chase saying, ‘Let’s go boys, this is our week. This is when we really got to show ourselves.’ He’s really excited for this game. He’s always the type of leader who’ll shoot texts and stuff like that, but this was before wake-up at 5 in the morning.
“He was ready to go.’’
Addazio said he detected a smoldering intensity from Rettig this week in practice.
“There’s no doubt that kid has a burn inside,’’ said the coach. “Who wouldn’t? You’re going home to play. I think any competitor has that feeling. So I know he does and, yes, I can see it in his eyes. He’s still going to keep his personality, but he’s not over the top.
“But I can’t imagine there is a guy more excited to be getting on that plane tomorrow.’’
When he returns to Southern California’s warm embrace, and its climate, USC’s fight song no doubt still will be ringing in Rettig’s ears.
“I already knew that song and some other things, so some things I’ll be familiar with,’’ Rettig said. “It’ll be fun just to be back, but the most important thing is singing our fight song at the end of the game.’’
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The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network at 3 p.m. Despite efforts by BC and the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Pac-12 Network will not release the game to local channels beyond what is listed in the channel finder. Fans may use the link http://pac-12.com/channel-finder to determine if the network is available on their cable system.
The Pac-12 Network offers an online streaming service for its games (similar to ESPN3 broadcasts). Viewers should check with their internet service providers to determine availability. More information can be found at http://pac-12.com/live.Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.