LIVESTREAM Japan: IBM Big Blue v. Fujitsu Frontiers, Nov. 7, 06:00 CET (12:00 midnight ET, 14:00 in Japan)

The Japanese X-League, the top American football league in Asia, heads into its second round of play this weekend as the defending champion (1-0) Fujitsu Frontiers face IBM Big Blue in the fourth game of the shortened season.

The last time these two teams met, in 2019, Fujitsu were easy winners 55-13.

The Frontiers won the X Bowl last year by edging the Panasonic Impulse 28-26 and then went on to win the Rice Bowl (top college team vs X League champion). IBM Big Blue missed the playoffs in 2019.

Last week, Fujitsu defeated the Nojima Sagamihara Rise 48-3 while IBM dropped a 35-28 last second loss to Elecom.

These two teams along with the Elecom Kobe Finies, Obic Seagulls, Panasonic Impulse, Nojima Sagamihara Rise and Tokyo Gas Creators, are playing a three round regular season. Initially, the All Mitsubishi Lions were slated to compete but withdrew, hence the three cancelled games.

IBM Big Blue v. Fujitsu Frontiers, Nov. 7, 06:00 ET (12 midnight ET, 14:00 in Japan)

The league has been organized into two groups, Block A and Block B. The seven teams will play every other week in three rounds and the Japan XBowl on December 15 in the Tokyo Dome.

The defending champion Frontiers enter this game as favorites after a strong showing in the opening weekend. Still, IBM, platooning their quarterbacks, came close to beating Elecom.

For Fujitsu, QB Michael Birdsong threw for 196 yards and 1 TD in the win while his backup Tsubasa Takagi had 43 yards passing and another TD. They will be tough again. Add RBs Trashaun Nixon (38 yds/1 TD) and Samajie Grant (96 yds/1 TD) and the offense looks formidable.

For IBM, Yuki Masamoto took most of the snaps in the loss to Elecom. He threw for 206 yards and 2 TDs while head coach Kevin Craft threw for 35 yards and the other 2 TDs. How much of the load that Craft will handle in this game is uncertain. WR Suzuki Takaki caught 3 of the 4 TD passes two weeks ago and will be a key.

The Big Blue also feature Austria’s leading rusher in 2019, Herbert Gamboa who is now playing linebacker, his college position. In the loss to the Kobe Finies he recorded 13 tackles  (10 solo 3 asst) and one QB hit.

Watch the game live here. IBM Big Blue v. Fujitsu Frontiers, Nov. 7, 06:00 ET (12 midnight ET, 14:00 in Japan)

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