As the X League in Japan enters October, the key matchup this past weekend was the a battle of the undefeateds and the two 2015 X Bowl opponents, the Panasonic Impulse who won the title and the Fujitsu Frontiers.
The Frontiers prevailed, coming away with a 20-13 victory, with a crowd of 1,603 on hand at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field, exacting some revenge for its 24-21 loss to the Impulse in the 2015 Japan X Bowl.
Both teams came into the game undefeated behind the play of their stingy defenses and it showed. Offensive scoring was at a minimum, especially for the Frontiers.
They relied on a Teruaki Clark Nakamura 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 41 yard fumble return for a touchdown by defensive end Trashaun Nixon with three minutes left. Quarterback Colby Cameron threw a 4-yard touchdown pass for the Fujitsu’s lone offensive score.
Cameron had a very quiet night for the winners completing just 13 of 20 passes for 82 yards as the Frontiers were outgained in total yardage 276 to 203, and trailed in time of possession 27:12 to 20:48.
Fujitsu remained undefeated with the win (4-0) and picked up a victory in its first-ever regular-season game against a West Division opponent. The revamped league schedule has the top teams in Japan facing each other more often in the regular season. Panasonic dropped to 3-1.
Panasonic running back Ben Dupree paced the Impulse, rushing 18 times for 103 yards, including a 64-yard romp that set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Shun Yokota in the second quarter. Eita Saeki booted two field goals to round out the Impulse scoring.
The Impulse led 10-6 at halftime and 13-6 midway through the third quarter before the Fujitsu offense finally put points on the board. Sparked by a 14-yard pass from Cameron to Yoshimatsu Iwamatsu, the six-play, 65-yard drive was helped by a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Cameron capped the drive finding Takeshi Akiyama in the back corner of the end zone to pull even with the Impulse 13-13.
Which led to the heroics of Nixon. With Panasonic driving late in the game, Nixon swiped at the ball in the hands of Impulse quarterback Tetsuo Takata, knocking it loose. He then scooped it up and raced into the end zone for the winning score.
With the win, the 4-0 Frontiers lead the Super 9, the top nine teams in Japan’s X League. The Impulse move into second at 3-1 while the Obic Seagulls are third but undefeated at 3-0.