Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon led the Nojima Rise to a convincing win, 69-7, in their final game of the 2016 season. Dubbed the "Copper Bowl", they easily defeated the Tokyo Gas Creators [really] in a rematch of a game earlier in the season.
Gardner was 15-24, 317 yards and four TDs in the air, adding two more on the ground.
When asked his plans for the evening, Devin said he'd try to get some sleep and then make it to the gathering of Michigan and tOSU alumni and fans at a sports bar in Tokyo for the 2AM kickoff of The Game.
[More details later- like Devin, I need to do the same]
The Nojima Rise fell to the Asahi (Beer) Silver Stars 29-26 in another game that came down to the final minute. Nojima is now a disappointing 1-3 on the season, and in danger of missing the playoffs.
Trailing 26-10 at halftime, Devin Gardner began to bring the Rise back late in the 3rd quarter, when he ran the ball in from the 5-yard line, and passed to Jeremy Gallon for the two-point conversion to bring the score to 26-18. Midway through the 4th quarter, Garner scored on a 23 yard scramble, but Gallon was called for a block in the back. On the next play, Gardner hit Eisuke Tomatsu for a TD, and with Gardner on a QB draw for the extra point, the game was tied.
A five minute drive by the Silver Stars set up a 30-yard field goal to make it 29-26, and after the kickoff went out of bounds, the Rise took over from their own 35 with 1:03 remaining. The Silver Stars had missed an earlier field goal from 31-yards and one extra point; while Nojima had two FG kicks blocked
Gardner was able to move the ball into Asahi territory with a combination of throws and runs, but was unable to complete the 4th down pass and the ball was turned over on downs with 5 seconds remaining. Gardner missed on his last four passes, and said he had fallen on the ball at one point and was coughing up blood, but seemed fine when talking with fans after the game.
Once again Gardner was the leading rusher in the game,carrying it 14 times for 79 yards. He was 18-34 passing for, 299 yards, 2 TDs for the Rise (including their first, a 25 yard strke to Gallon), and 1 interception. Gallon had 7 catches for 133 yards.
Gardner's counterpart Mason Mills was 24-33, 341 yards and 3 TDs.
The Rise next face perrenial league power the Panasonic Impulse in a game next Sunday in Osaka.
Congratulations to James Rogers who was just announced as the head football coach at Madison High School. Interestingly, he will bring Devin Gardner and Cam Gordon along as assistant coaches. Hopefully this will be of great benefit to their program and will create another strong connection to a local high school for the 'M' football program. All the best to them!
(I suppose we could also add in a good-natured joke about how well qualified Rogers is to coach both sides of the ball.)
|Category||Player A||Player B (pro-rated to full season)|
|Ranking in FBS||94||98|
|Yards per attempt||6.7||6.6|
|Yards passing||1896||1135 (2270)|
|Times sacked||26||8 (16)|
OK, this is getting a little eerie. Player A is obviously Devin Gardner's 2014 season because I don't need to pro-rate his stats over a full season. Player B is Jake Rudock so far this season. They are the same guy. Is it possible Gardner was MGoCloned?
I've been much more content with Rudock's play so far this year than I was with Gardner's last season. I guess winning cures all. Defense and special teams have made a world of difference, but you know that already.
P.S. Gardner averaged 2.6 yards per carry last year to Rudock's 2.7 this year. I didn't excise sack yards, but they are handled the same for both so it's an OK comparison.
Thought I would post this as a public announcement for the board. I will be tuning in to watch it. So much potential, so poorly managed......