The unbeaten Fujitsu Frontiers (4-0) face the surprising 3-1 Elecom Kobe Finies Sunday, October 20 at Expo Flash Field Osaka as Japan’s XLeague heads into the home stretch.
The Frontiers have looked every bit the defending champions in winning their opening four games starting with a 55-13 shellacking of the IBM Big Blue continuing with a 45-27 win over the Panasonic Impulse 45-27. They whipped the Nojima Sagamihara Rise 49-19 and two weeks ago overwhelmed the All Mitsubishi Lions 68-0 and even without quarterback Michael Birdsong, who is still injured, they have an unstoppable offense. Backup quarterback Tsubasa Takagi has completed 36 of 49 passes for 542 yards and eight touchdowns.
Running back Samergy Grant leads the league in rushing with 381 yards on just 33 carries. Fujitsu’s defense has allowed just 59 points scored in four games, an average of just under 15 points a game.
Elecom has been the surprise of the XLeague so far racing out to a 3-1 record with wins over the Tokyo Gas Creators (21-16), All Mitsubishi Lions (37-6) and IBM Big Blue. \Their only loss was to the Obic Seagulls, 38-3. The shocking 45-38 victory over IBM two weeks ago has given the Finies some momentum going into this game.
Quarterback Cody Sokol is the fourth leading passer in the XLeague having thrown for 589 yards and eight touchdowns. His favorite receiver, Alfonso Onunwor, has 17 receptions for 270 yards and seven touchdowns. Yuki Shirakami leads the Finies in rushing with 44 carries for 249 yards. Defensive back Sean Draper and defensive lineman Cardell Rawlings lead a defense which is fourth best in Japan.
Although Fujitsu is the heavy favorite going into this game, they are without the services of Birdsong and Elecom had a true confidence builder in the win over IBM.