NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. – Running back Yasuhiro Maruta scored a decisive touchdown in the final quarter as Hosei University beat three-time defending champion Ritsumeikan University 17-14 in the Koshien Bowl national collegiate championship Sunday.
Maruta rushed into the end zone from three yards 6 minutes, 51 seconds into the fourth quarter and Hosei held off Ritsumeikan’s comeback attempt in a seesaw contest for its fourth Koshien Bowl victory and first in five years.
With the victory at Koshien Stadium, Hosei booked a spot in the Rice Bowl national championship at Tokyo Dome on Jan. 3.
Hosei took a 10-7 halftime lead following a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Shun Sugawara to wide receiver Kazuya Tokura.
Quarterback Tatsuhiko Shibui helped Ritsumeikan rally for a 14-10 lead on a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter but Maruta gave Hosei the lead for good with his final-quarter rush.
Maruta was named the Most Valuable Player of the Koshien Bowl, which features the collegiate champions in the Kanto and Kansai leagues.
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