Fujitsu Frontiers put unbeaten record on the line against college football’s historic Kwansei Gakuin Fighters

For the second straight year and third time in four years, Japan’s X League champions, the Fujitsu Frontiers (9-0) will face the top college team in Japan, the Kwansei Gakuin Fighters (10-1) Friday, January 3, to decide the overall Japanese American football title in the 73rd Rice Bowl.

These two teams met in last year’s final, and the Frontiers prevailed 52-17. In fact, the college champion has not won a Rice Bowl since the Ritsumeikan Panthers defeated the Panasonic Impulse 17-13 in the 2009 Rice Bowl. The Fighters have not won the title since 2002 when they downed the Asahi Soft Drink Challengers 30-27.

Kwansei Gakuin are making their 13th appearance in the Rice Bowl which has been held every year since 1984. The Fighters have only won the title once. Meanwhile, they are facing a Fujitsu team that has won four of the last five championships.

Fujitsu enters the game undefeated after rallying to defeat the Panasonic Impulse 28-26 in the X Bowl.

Fighters historic

Still, the Fighters have rewritten college football history and their 38-28 win over the Waseda Bears was their 30th national title making them the only college team in the world to have reached that mark. They eclipsed the Princeton Tigers with their 29th title last year. Legendary head coach Hideaki Toriuchi will be stepping down after this game and will leave the game as the winningest college head coach in history in terms of overall titles.

This unique game is always the biggest football draw in Japan and attracts 30,000+ spectators to the Tokyo Dome every year. And there’s good reason, Despite the fact that the outcome would seem to be a foregone conclusion, the underdog storyline never gets old.

Just imagine if Clemson had taken on the New England Patriots following the Super Bowl last year.

Nevertheless, the Frontiers have a lot at stake. They do not want to be the first X League team to lose the Rice Bowl in over a decade.

 

 

 

AFI
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