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Masamoto orchestrates rout as BigBlue pound Bulls in Pearl Bowl opener

by Hiroshi Ikezawa

Staff Writer

Yuki Masamoto threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another to lead the defending Pearl Bowl champion IBM BigBlue to a 34-3 rout of the Bulls as the X League spring tournament opened on Saturday at Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki.

“Our focus in this game was blocking, tackling and other fundamentals,” IBM head coach Shinzo Yamada said. “Those things are what we have been working on this spring. And those things are what makes the difference between the winner and the loser.

“We had some mistakes and penalties we should avoid, but we played well overall,” Yamada added. “We want to keep this pace of improvement. Of course we would like to defend the Pearl Bowl title, but our main goal is winning the championship in the fall season.”

Masamoto, who was handed the starting assignment over former UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft, completed 11 of 17 passes for 127 yards to lead the BigBlue to touchdown on three of their first four possessions.

IBM led 21-3 at halftime.

Despite his first start in almost 10 months, Masamoto showed no rust and effectively guided the offense, which featured at least five rookies playing for the majority of the time.

Craft entered the game at the beginning of the third quarter and tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to rookie wide receiver Ryuki Suzuki before Masamoto returned and ran 22 yards for a touchdown with 5:17 left in the game.

Defensively, the BigBlue gave up 15 first downs, but kept the Bulls out of the end zone. Defensive lineman Hiroki Sakuma registered two sacks.