The Nojima Rise began their regular season with a resounding win over the Bulls football club, 84-0. Devin Gardner threw for three touchdowns, and ran for three more.
Naoki Arai ran back the opening kickoff for Nojima, and the Rise scored touchdowns on every possesion except for an interception of Gardner on their second series.
With the lopsided nature of the game, the three Michigan Wolverine alumni saw intermittent action. Mario Ojemudia (wearing #53) had three tackles, including a fumble recovery, while Sione Houma (#39) picked up 9 yards on four carries.
Devin Gardner (again wearing #98), seems to be feeling comfortable in his second year in Japan, as he completed 7 of 10 passed for 141 yards and three TDs and one INT, and also picked up 27 yards on five carries running the ball.
Gardner only played in the first half, as the Rise led 56-0 at halftime. He has taken on the role of training his two backup QBs by "trying to create some chaos in practice, so they don't get so rattled in games."
Gardner said he enjoyed the the chance to play live, "It was good to get our feet wet, because I hadn't been hit at all since spring," and was glad to see the start of the regular season. He said Sione and Mario would probably prefer to have played a little stiffer competition. They'll certainly get that chance in their next game on September 17th, when they take on perennial powerhouse Obic Seaguls.
With the time difference and a game scheduled that afternoon, they were only able to catch the second half (lucky them!) of the Michigan win over Florida, but they were quite pleased with the result and the directions both Michigan and their own team seem to be headed.