Japan: 76th Rice Bowl features arch rivals the Fujitsu Frontiers and Panasonic Impulse

By Aidan Wohl

The stage is set for the 76th annual Rice Bowl, featuring the two No.1 regular season teams, the Panasonic Impulse, and the reigning champions Fujitsu Frontiers.

These two teams have history, facing each other in last year’s Rice Bowl with the Frontiers edging out the Impulse 24-18 to give Fujitsu its sixth championship victory since 2014.

Powerhouse Fujitsu has had Panasonic’s number in recent history, defeating the Impulse in four of its last five matchups. The last time the Impulse took down the Frontiers was Nov. 12, 2021.

To reach the Rice Bowl, the Frontiers defeated the Asahi Beer Silver Star in the quarterfinals 53-3 and then downed Elecom Kobe Finies 39-21 in the semifinal round. Panasonic’s post season road to the championship game included a 38-28 win over the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers in the quarterfinals and then a 30-10 thumping of the Obic Seagulls in the semis.

Highlights of Fujitsu’s road to the Rice Bowl

In what is poised to be an offensive shootout, key players to watch for the Frontiers will again be the big three quarterback, Tsubasa Takagi, running back and X-League MVP Trashawn Nixon, and wide receiver Riki Matsui who has helped its offense average 46.2 points in each of its last five contests. The Impulse will lean on star quarterback Jaylon Henderson, wide receiver Alfonzo Onuwar, and running back Watanabe Jamal.

Highlights of the Panasonic playoff wins

Kickoff for the 76th Rice Bowl is set for Tuesday, January 3 in the Tokyo Dome.

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