Order the book, The United States Football League, 1982–1986.
New Orleans 17 at Birmingham 31
1984 Week 6 - Monday, April 2, 1984
New Orleans Breakers(5-0) at Birmingham Stallions(4-1)(-3.5)
Attendance: 28,100, TV: ESPN
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (UPI) - A solid performance by speedster Joe Cribbs and three interceptions by rookie Chuck Clanton propelled Birmingham into a tie with New Orleans for first place in the USFL's Southern Division.
Most of the estimated 28,100 fans who braved a steady downpour Monday night to see the Stallions' 31-17 victory over the Breakers stayed until the last seconds as Cribbs put on one of the best rushing performances this side of the NFL.
During a crucial third-quarter drive, the former Buffalo All-Pro had 63 yards on nine rushes and caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Cliff Stoudt. Cribbs finished the night with 162 yards on 26 rushes and caught five passes for 32 yards.
Clanton. who like Cribbs is an Auburn product, got his first interception early in the first quarter and raced 29 yards for a score. It was Breakers' quarterback Johnnie Walton's first interception in 136 pass attempts.
"I like the pros better because they pass more." a happy Clanton said after the game.
New Orleans also lost two fumbles, but Coach Dick Coury wouldn't blame the loss on the turnovers or bad weather.
"No. it wasn't the turnovers." He said. "They beat the devil out of us. I think they're a better team than most of the teams we've played so far."
Birmingham quarterback Cliff Stoudt. who hit 12-of-25 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, said the victory was a case of never giving up.
"It was another case of hanging in there." he said. "We fought a lot of odds but we overcame all of them. Some calls didn't go our way."
Already down 7-0 in the second quarter after Clanton's score. New Orleans running back Marcus Dupree fumbled the ball and tackle Jackie Cline recovered for Birmingham on the Stallions' 17.
But Cribbs fumbled on the next play. Breakers' linebacker Lawrence Williams recovered the ball and Tim Mazetti kicked a 31-yard field goal for New Orleans with 12:53 left in the half.
Birmingham got the ball back on its own 31 and Stoudt immediately hit Jim Smith wjth a 23-yard pass, then hit Cribbs for nine. Cribbs rushed three times and Stoudt twice before fullback Leon Perry scored from a yard out. The Breakers answered with a 72-yard, 9-play drive that included a 30-yard pass from Walton to Charlie Smith. A pass interference call put the Breakers on the Stallions' 7-yard line and Buford Jordan scored to make it 14-10 at halftime.
Birmingham marched 89 yards in 17 plays in the third quarter, capping the drive when Stoudt hit Cribbs with the 6-yard touchdown pass.
The Breakers answered with a 70-yard drive on eight plays that ended when Jordan sprinted 11 yards for a TD with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
Mike Miller kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Stallions a 24-17 lead with 10:40 left. Walton then misfired on a pitch to Dupree and Birmingham linebacker Mike Murphy fell on the ball on the Breakers' 1-yard line. Perry scored his second touchdown from there to put the Stallions in charge 31-17 with 9:47 left.
Supplemental information courtesy of Chris Blackburn