The defending and four-time champion Fujitsu Frontiers will open their season against the XBowl opponents August 24 when they take on the IBM Big Blue.
The two teams met twice in 2018 with Fujitsu winning both. In the season opener the Frontiers throttled IBM 41-6 and then defeated them again in the XBowl by a score of 35-18 winning their fourth Xleague title.
Gone from the Frontiers though is running back Trashaun Nixon who rushed for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the title game. He suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Pearl Bowl tournament. In his place is Arizona running back Samajie Grant. Michael Birdsong is back behind center so the Frontiers offense should be fine.
For IBM there have been some changes with quarterback Kevin Craft taking over as head coach. He has turned to Yuki Masamoto as his starting quarterback, the only non-American among with top five teams in the XLeague. Five-time All X-League defensive end James Brooks has returned to the Big Blue to Craft’s delight:
“I’m really anxious to see James play on defense this year, because he’s playing on another level that I haven’t seen him play at since he’s been here. He’s really motivated, and he’s in great shape. He’s going to make a big difference for our defense.”