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TOP > What’s New > Flash news: Fujitsu claims 2nd straight national title, routs Nichidai in Rice Bowl

What’s New

Flash news: Fujitsu claims 2nd straight national title, routs Nichidai in Rice Bowl


Fujitsu head coach Satoshi Fujita gets a ceremonial victory toss from his players after the Frontiers’ victory over Nihon University. (photo by MI Planning)




By Ken Marantz



TOKYO (Jan. 3)—Colby Cameron threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Fujitsu Frontiers to a second straight national title and third in four years with a dominant 37-9 win in the Rice Bowl over the Nihon University Phoenix.


“First of all, I’m relieved,” Fujitsu head coach Satoshi Fujita said of winning a second consecutive championship.


Fujitsu’s victory over Nihon, commonly referred to as “Nichidai”, was the ninth straight by the X-League team over the national collegiate champions, and the 13th in 14 years. The company league leads the overall series 23-12.


Cameron, named the game MVP for the second time in row, completed 17 of 29 passes with one interception before handing the reins over to Keiya Hiramoto, one of 12 Nichidai alumni on the Fujitsu roster, before the crowd of 34,510 at Tokyo Dome.


Gino Gordon rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and also caught the first touchdown of the game, while Teruaki Clark Nakamura—another Nichidai product—-caught eight passes for 182 yards and a touchdown as Fujitsu piled up 490 yards of total offense.


Hidetetsu Nishimura kicked a pair of field goals and backup kicker Koji Nosho added one in the fourth quarter for Fujitsu.


Nichidai, playing in the Rice Bowl for the first time in 27 years, fought bravely behind freshman quarterback Taiki Hayashi, but could not overcome the superior speed and power of the X-Leaguers.


The Phoenix, who had won the Rice Bowl in 1985 and three straight from 1989-91, were limited to Ayumu Shinohara’s 35-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 9-yard touchdown pass from Masamichi Muroi to Go Ogura with 15 seconds left in the game.


Fujitsu took time getting into gear against a surprisingly staunch Nichidai defense and did not score until its third series of the game, when Cameron and Gordon hooked up on a 4-yard touchdown pass. On the previous two plays, Cameron connected with Nakamura on 24- and 45-yard passes to set up the score.


On the first play of Fujitsu’s next possession early in the second quarter, Nakamura beat the secondary on a flag pattern to haul in a 49-yard touchdown pass.


Later, Nakamura barely missed out on a second TD when he just stepped on the sideline of the end zone while catching what would have have been a 24-yard pass from Cameron, who had scrambled away from a blitz. The Frontiers then settled for Nishimura’s 41-yard field goal and a 17-0 lead.


Fujitsu’s bid to pad the lead before halftime was dealt a setback when a second potential touchdown pass was nullified due to an illegal block penalty, and then a Cameron pass on a 4th-and-8 gamble fell incomplete.


In the second half, Cameron threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Sei Kyo on the opening possession to make it 24-3.


After cornerback Al-Rilwan Adeyami picked off a pass by wide receiver Hirotsugu Hayashi on a trick play at the Fujitsu goal line, the Frontiers converted that into Nishimura’s second field goal of the day, a 31-yarder.


Freshman defensive back Kazuki Shibata picked off a Cameron pass near the goal line and returned it to the Fujitsu 42. But a Phoenix drive that included one fourth-down conversion and extended into the fourth quarter ended with a pass for a loss on fourth down.


With Hiramoto taking over at QB, the Frontiers stuck mainly to the ground, and Gordon put on a display of power and speed. He gained 47 yards of a 93-yard drive, which he finished with a 13-yard touchdown run to put Fujitsu up 34-3 with 10:16 left in the game.


Taiki Hayashi, who was injured taking a hit on the Phoenix’s final drive, completed 11 of 23 passes for 92 yards and an interception, while also running for 48 yards on 13 carries. Dereck Akira Williams rushed for 51 yards on five carries.


Safety Bronson Beatty, the younger brother of Obic Seagulls defensive end B.J. Beatty, led the Phoenix with 8.5 tackles. He will play for Obic next season.





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