• Kyodo, staff report


In a rematch of Japan’s most infamous American football game, Kwansei Gakuin University defeated Nihon University 42-24 in Sunday’s Koshien Bowl.

The win extended Kwansei’s Koshien Bowl record championship haul to 31. Kwansei quarterback Kosei Okuno, hospitalized after an unsportsmanlike tackle in a May 2018 exhibition against Nihon University that sparked a national scandal, led his school to victory for the third straight year.

The two schools have now met in the game at the historic baseball stadium outside Osaka 30 times, although this was their first confrontation since the May 2018 incident.

“I’m happy that we were able to square off on a stage such as Koshien,” Okuno said. “Both sides played hard and it was a great game.”

Kwansei will play the winner of Tuesday’s Japan X Bowl — between the Obic Seagulls and Fujitsu Frontiers — in the 2021 Rice Bowl at Tokyo Dome on Jan. 3.

The Nihon University player who hit Okuno later said he was ordered by his former coaches to injure the Kwansei quarterback.

The player reached an out-of-court settlement with Okuno, while two coaches were handed lifetime bans from competition by the Kantoh Collegiate Football Association, the sport’s governing body in Tokyo and its surrounding areas.

Nihon University was suspended from its league and resumed playing in May 2019.

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