USC climbs polls after upset of Stanford

The text messages and voice mails started blowing up on Ed Orgeron's phone soon after USC upset Stanford.

Former Trojans coach Pete Carroll and others from the Seattle Seahawks staff sent congratulations. So did former Miami players such as Warren Sapp and Cortez Kennedy and former USC players Brian Cushing, Kenechi Udeze, Marcus Allen and Anthony Munoz and many others.

"On and on and on," Orgeron, USC's interim coach, said Sunday during a teleconference with reporters.

USC's performance in the 20-17 victory also resonated with poll voters.

USC is ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press media poll, No. 25 in the USA Today coaches' poll and No. 23 in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

It is USC's first appearance in the BCS standings since before last season's loss to UCLA.

"Being ranked right now is far down the ladder for us," Orgeron said.

USC plays Colorado on Saturday and UCLA on Nov. 30, giving Athletic Director Pat Haden two more opportunities to evaluate Orgeron during the regular season.

On Sunday, reported — and the Denver Broncos confirmed to the Associated Press — that Haden interviewed Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio on Nov. 1.

Asked how he was dealing with rumors and reports about Haden's coaching search, Orgeron said, "I really don't care. I know he's going to interview the best available guys."

Orgeron, however, has put himself squarely in the mix by leading the Trojans to five victories in six games, including the last four in a row.

Orgeron praised players and assistant coaches for their effort against a Stanford team that fell from fourth to ninth in the BCS standings and fifth to 10th in the AP poll.

USC played only 13 players on defense against the Cardinal.

"It sort of developed as the game went on," Orgeron said, adding, "We had some players that were suited best to play against a big Stanford line especially those two tackles…. We just felt that our guys were OK on the sideline and so we were going to put in our best players during the game and it worked."

Defensive end Leonard Williams played despite a shoulder injury and made seven tackles.

"During warmups it wasn't feeling good," Williams said afterward. "But I guess my adrenaline kicked in."

After Andre Heidari kicked a field goal with 19 seconds left, Stanford ran one pass play, which featured several laterals and a fumble forced by linebacker Anthony Sarao.

Williams fell on the ball to end the game.

"I just dove on that ball the last play and I then I didn't know what was going on," Williams said. "I just felt my teammates on top of me. Everybody's saying, 'I love you' on top of the pile. It just felt like a brotherhood, like a family.

"And then as soon as I stood up it just seemed like the whole stadium… everybody was on the field. It felt great."

Quick hits

USC, which gained only 26 yards rushing against Stanford in 2012, rushed for only 23 yards Saturday. But Orgeron was pleased with an offensive line that allowed only two sacks. "I thought our guys did a very good job in pass protection," he said. "We struggled a little bit at the run game. We knew that going in it was going to be tough."... USC's game at Colorado will kick off at 6:30 p.m. PST and will be shown by the Pac-12 Networks… The Trojans have blocked two field-goal attempts and a punt in their last three games.

Twitter: @latimesklein

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