The Obic Seagulls (5-0) take on he 2-3 IBM Big Blue Sunday, November 3 at Yokohama Park Stadium as Japan’s XLeague heads into final two games.
The last time these two teams met, two years ago, IBM came away with a 38-34 win.
Obic has looked very impressive this season whipping the All Mitsubishi Lions 48-16, the Elecom Kobe Finies 38-3, Tokyo Gas Creators 62-7 and Nojima Sagamihara Rise 30-0. However, in their last outing, the Panasonic Impulse pushed them hard and although Obic finally came away with a 14-7 win, Big Blue head coach Kevin Craft will be examining the game film
Seagulls quarterbacks Skyler Howard and Shun Sugawara has thrown for 443 and 422 yards respectively and a total of nine touchdowns while key receiver is Noriaki Kinoshita, MVP of the Pearl Bowl final, who has 217 yards receiving so far. Tomoki Jimura is the Seagulls’ leading rusher with 32 carries for 289 yards.
IBM, who reached the X Bowl in 2018, have had a tough time of it this season. Although they demolished the All Mitsubishi Lions 66-7, last month, they were surprisingly beaten 45-38 by Elecom Kobe Finies and now are in danger of missing the playoffs. Their schedule has included a lopsided loss 55-13 to powerhouse the Fujitsu Frontiers, a solid 41-36 win over Nojima Sagamihara Rise and 42-28 loss to the Panasonic Impulse. So the other losses were against top teams.
For IBM quarterback Kevin Craft who has also taken over as head coach is the second leading passer in the country. He has thrown for 1,206 yards and a league-best 15 touchdowns while his Japanese quarterback, Yuki Masamoto has thrown for 357 and three scores. Katsuhito Omi and John Stanton are the second and sixth leading receivers in the X League. Omi has 393 yards receiving while Stanton has caught 30 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Daisuke Yamanaka is Big Blue’s top rusher with 237 yards with Takaki Ito behind him having rushed 36 times for 233 yards and two touchdowns.
Still, the IBM defense has given up 184 points in five games, second worst in the league.