Japan’s X Bowl XXIX A Battle of Undefeated Teams

Japan’s X Bowl XXIX  features an ideal championship matchup as it pits two high-powered undefeated teams against one another.

The defending champion 8-0 Fujitsu Frontiers with the finest passing quarterback in the league in Colby Cameron will face the 8-0 Panasonic Impulse featuring the stingiest defense in Japan led by ball-hawking cornerback Emory Polley and defensive end Carlton Jones.

In fact, the Impulse defense had five shutout victories in the regular season and allowed just three points per game during their seven games.

Japan - Polley-Al

Emory Polley & Al-Rilwan Adeyami

The two finest running backs in the X League, Panasonic’s Ben Dupree and the Frontiers Gino Gordon, should be going head to head. Dupree, a Citadel alumni, rushed for a league-high 752 yards while scoring 12 times during the season while Gordon from Harvard, was league MVP in 2014. But Gordon’s suffered a leg injury in the semifinal game against the Obic Seagulls, which may keep him out. Should that be the case, the Frontiers will turn to backups Kei Goto and Yuichi Kon to carry the load.

Cameron set the league’s single-season record for passing yards (1,990 yards) and touchdown passes (25) while completing 147 of 209 passes in his second year in the X League in leading Fujitsu to its second straight X Bowl. The East Division champion Frontiers averaged 54.7 points per game during a perfect 7-0 regular season and defeated the Obic Seagulls 27-6 in the semifinals.

The Frontiers defense is also intimidating with its own shut-down corner in Al-Rilwan Adeyami leading a unit which was pretty stingy itself giving up only 10 points a game in the seven regular season games.

Cameron’s outstanding receiving corps includes rookie tight end Yuji Mizuno (304 yards, 5 TDs), and wide receivers Junpei Yoshimoto (303, 2), Takeshi Akiyama (252, 4) and his go-to receiver Teruaki Clark Nakamura (434, 7).

Japan - Otu-Atsunobu Kimura

Defensive linemen David Otu and Atsunobu Kimura

Panasonic’s veteran quarterback, Tetsuo Takata, is no stranger to championship pressure though. He has led both Ritsumeikan University (2003) and the Impulse (2007) to national championships. His efficiency is off the charts as he has yet to throw an interception this season. Nevertheless, he will be facing a defense which thrives on turnovers. Adeyami was tops on the Frontiers with four interceptions during the season including two pick sixes.

Panasonic defensive lineman David Motu leads the team with four sacks, followed by fellow defensive linemen Carlton Jones, Munekazu Shikaa and Yoki Yamaguchi with two apiece. The Impulse defense gave up an average of only 92 yards through the air and 39.1 yards on the ground during the season.

The winner of the X Bowl goes on to play the collegiate champion on Jan. 3, 2016, at Tokyo Dome in the Rice Bowl for the national championship.

Tokyo’s Waseda University takes on Kyoto’s Ristumeikan University for collegiate title in the Koshien Bowl on Sunday at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

Road to X Bowl XXIX

Japan - X League - X Bowl - team records


Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.