Birmingham quarterback Cliff Stoudt took advantage of a gambling Express defense on Sunday.
He threw five touchdown passes to tie a United States Football League record and three of them went to receiver Jim Smith in the Stallions’ 44-7 victory over the Express in front of 4,658 at the Coliseum.
“They tried blitzing quite a bit,” Stoudt said. “That put Jimmy Smith in one-on-one coverages and, in my opinion, there aren’t too many people who can cover Jimmy Smith one-on-one.
“He got open and all I had to do was lay the ball up in the air.”
The lopsided victory surprised Birmingham Coach Rollie Dotsch.
“No question this was a big win for us. . . . We never imagined that it would be this easy,” Dotsch said. “I can imagine how disappointed the Express must be. Under the circumstances, (Express Coach) John Hadl has done a good job.”
The Express, still without an owner, has now lost three in a row and has fallen into the cellar of the USFL’s Western Conference only a year after winning a divisional title.
“I don’t know how you go from the success we had last year to what we have this year,” Hadl said. “It’s just crazy. Every day the players talk about not having an owner, things like that, and it has to affect. I can sense it getting a little worse each week.”
Stoudt, who completed 18-of-23 passes for 280 yards, tied a USFL record which he already shared with four others.
Smith’s three touchdown receptions matched a USFL mark shared by eight players. In all, Smith caught 8 passes for 185 yards.
The game’s outcome was never in doubt, as Birmingham scored 28 consecutive points from the outset.
Birmingham rolled up 423 yards in total offense and scored on its first five possessions.
Stoudt connected with tight end Darryl Mason on a three-yard scoring pass midway through the first quarter to cap the Stallions’ first possession, an 80-yard, 11-play drive.
Stoudt then teamed with Smith for a 45-yard scoring pass one play after Birmingham defensive back Mickey Sutton picked off a pass thrown by L.A. quarterback Frank Seurer.
Stoudt’s third touchdown toss was a 40-yarder to Smith with 2:45 left in the opening quarter on the Stallions’ third play after a a 48-yard punt return by Thad McFadden. Birmingham moved 40 yards for its third first-quarter touchdown.
Birmingham running back Joe Cribbs gave the Stallions a 28-0 advantage with a two-yard plunge.
The Stallions took a 35-7 lead when Stoudt hit Joey Jones on a 10-yard scoring pass with 38 seconds left in the first half.
Stoudt’s final touchdown pass came when he hit Smith on a 24-yard play less than three minutes into the final quarter that made the score 41-7.
The lone Express score came when Seurer hit Kenny O’Neal on a two-yard pass with 7:06 remaining in the first half.
Seurer completed 22-of-35 passes for 240 yards and had three passes intercepted.
Stallion placekicker Danny Miller finished the scoring with a 46-yard field with 2:17 left in the game.
Birmingham’s Chuck Clanton had two interceptions to increase his league-leading total to 13.