An impressive number of fans came out to see the 25th Japan X Bowl. What they got instead were tickets to the Noriaki Kinoshita show.
The Obic Seagulls receiver scored three touchdowns to help give his team the lead, and linebacker Masayoshi Tsukada sealed the victory with an interception in the end zone with 18 seconds left as the Seagulls rallied to beat the Fujitsu Frontiers 24-17 in the X Bowl on Monday at Tokyo Dome.
The Seagulls are X League champions for the second consecutive season and sixth time overall. Fujitsu, still searching for its first title, lost in the X Bowl for the fourth time.
Obic will now face collegiate champion Kwansei Gakuin University in the Rice Bowl on Jan. 3, at the Big Egg.
Kinoshita, who signed a contract with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons in 2007 (but didn’t make it out of camp), was the unquestioned star of the contest and kickstarted the Obic attack in the second half. He was named the game’s MVP.
After a Fujitsu field goal put the Frontiers ahead 10-3 in the third quarter, Kinoshita returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. A missed extra point, however, kept Fujitsu ahead 10-9.
The Seagulls were forced to began a drive from their own 13-yard line in the fourth, but Kinoshita gave his offense some breathing room with a 43-yard reception. Quarterback Shun Sugawara then drove the Seagulls to the Fujitsu 10, before hitting Kinoshita for the go-ahead score, helping to put Obic up 15-10.
Sugawara and Kinoshita connected on a 66-yard scoring play on Obic’s next drive to make the score 24-10.
Fujitsu scored a touchdown late in the game to make the score 24-17. The Frontiers got the ball back in the waning moments and drove down to the Obic 11 with under a minute left.
The Frontiers threw three incomplete passes before Tsukada put the game on ice with his interception in the end zone.
Manning won’t play
The Colts will have to win their last two games the same way they tried to win their first 14 — without Peyton Manning.
Minutes after the previously winless Colts got their first win, 27-13 over Tennessee, team vice chairman Bill Polian said the four-time league MVP will not play this season though he has begun throwing to teammates at the team complex.
The comments came in a rare, five-paragraph postgame statement Polian made from the podium. He did not take questions.
“It was determined by the doctors that there was no chance he (Manning) would play this year,” Polian said, referring to a Thursday meeting. “His rehabilitation has not come far enough to make it prudent for him to step on the field in game action. He may practice in some very scripted and circumscribed circumstances if he wishes. That’s entirely up to him.”