Matsushita Electric Works, led by the gutsy play of quarterback Koichi Takahashi, routed Ritsumeikan University 26-7 to win its first Rice Bowl in 10 years on Monday.
It was the corporate league winner’s second national championship title as it snapped Ritsumeikan’s two-year winning streak in the matchup between college students and working adults.
Running-back Masahiro Ishino helped the Impulse to a 7-0 lead with a 27-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, breaking two tackles near the sideline as he scampered into the end zone at Tokyo Dome.
The Impulse had another chance late in the second quarter after wide-receiver Shinji Shimokawa caught a 50-yard pass amid a swarm of Panthers defensive backs but failed to score on the ensuing drive.
Takahashi got his team within scoring range again but Masahiro Ota, who was named MVP in the corporate league championship last month, failed to convert his second straight field goal.
In the end it didn’t matter, as Ota made 4-of-6 field goals to put the game out of reach.
The Panthers were hampered by an impregnable Impulse defensive line that left them few chances to move the ball down field and a series of sophomoric turnovers that kept them out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
It was the first time in four years that a corporate league team beat a university team, improving the overall record against the students to 11-11.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.