The final weekend of play in Japan’s XLeague regular season winds up November 23 with the 1-1 Nojima Sagamihara Rise taking on the 0-2 IBM Big Blue.
Nojima is coming off a 17-14 win over the Elecom Kobe Finies while IBM dropped their second in a row in a 41-21 loss to the Fujitsu Frontiers.
The Rise enter the game with a level of confidence after the arrival of quarterback Kurt Palandech who changed the offense for Nojima. After mustering just three points in the opening loss to Fujitsu, the offense racked up over 300 yards in the win over Elecom. Palandech threw for 195 yards but more importantly gave the team needed stability. Running back Dereck Akira Williams had 21 carries for 78 yards and the other touchdown. Palandech also used his legs rushing for 63 yards. Wide receiver Masato Ito caught three passes for 50 yards while Yuhei Yagi had three catches for 49 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
For IBM, head coach Kevin Craft has been splitting the quarterbacking duties with backup quarterback Yuki Masamoto. The pair has weapons in receivers Shirane Ko and Takaki Suzuki who scored a 100 yard kickoff return touchdown in the game against Fujitsu and scored three of IBM’s four touchdowns in the loss to Elecom. Running back Daisuke Yamanaka gives the Big Blue a solid ground game.
The game pits two teams badly needing a win. Although the Rise no longer have a chance to advance to the X Bowl following the Frontiers 34-3 win over Elecom Sunday. Still, a win would set the tone for 2021. IBM needs to find a way to win at least one game.
Watch the game live here. Nojima Sagamihara Rise v. IBM Big Blue, Nov. 23, 14:00 (06:00 CET, 12 midnight ET)