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Fujitsu beats IBM in X League opener

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

Fujitsu, last year’s X League runnerup, prevailed despite IBM quarterback Kevin Craft’s mighty passing game as the Frontiers edged the Big Blue 24-20 in the opening game of the 2012 X League season at Tokyo Dome on Thursday night.

With the Frontiers trailing 20-17 in the third quarter, they recovered a punt return fumble at the IBM 20-yard line, and quickly connected for a go-ahead touchdown as quarterback Totoki Yoshida hit wide receiver Teruaki Clark Nakamura in the end zone with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Frontiers defense held the Big Blue scoreless the rest of the game to preserve the lead.

In overall statistics, IBM completely dominated. It had 508 total yards on offense, while Fujitsu amassed 233 yards. But a pair of turnovers were costly for the Big Blue.

Craft, a newcomer and former UCLA signal-caller, completed 49 passes out of 59 attempts for 439 yards two touchdowns, and tight end and fellow American John Stanton had 81 yards receiving with a couple of touchdowns.

“We expected to give up some yardage early on,” Fujitsu head coach Satoshi Fujita said, referring to Craft and the opponent’s offense engineered by him, after the game. “But our defense adjusted to it well later.

“More than anything, we’re just happy to grab the win. This win’s huge.”