IBM Big Blue returns to Japan’s X Bowl for the second consecutive year, and the third time in their history, after downing the Panasonic Impulse 24-17 at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field Sunday.
Trailing 7-3 at the half, IBM broke a 10-10 tie in the third quarter scoring two straight touchdowns and then hung on in the fourth for the win.
Big Blue quarterback Yuki Masamoto threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Stanton to give IBM a 17-10 lead midway through the third and then a minute later defensive back Daichi Kozu returned a fumble 10 yards for a touchdown making it a two-score game, 24-10.
Masamoto completed 13 of 24 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing 16 times for 39 yards and another touchdown.
Panasonic quarterback Ben Anderson, last season’s league MVP, finished 16 of 31 for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
Anderson pulled the Impulse to within one touchdown after throwing his second 11-yard touchdown pass of the game to wide receiver Tatsuya Tonka early in the fourth quarter. But the IBM defense held on the rest of the way to advance to the championship game for the second straight year and third time in team history.