Linus Jakobsson (FISU Media)
UPPSALA .- The 11th day of this tournament, was a historical day in many ways. Not only would a World University Champion be crowned but it would also be the first loss ever for one of these teams since they both got to the championship game undefeated.
Team Mexico started the game on offense and attacked primarily on the ground. After only six plays Mexico’s running back fumbled the ball and #99 in Japan, Ryota Takahashi, recovered it on Mexico’s 32 yard line.
On the following play team Japans #11 Tatsuya Tonka lost the ball when he tried to hurdle a Mexican defender and the ball was once again turned over.
After that exciting start neither of the teams could get their offenses going and they were both forced to punt the ball away several times. With about a minute to go of the first quarter Team Mexico tried to kick a field goal from Japan’s 20 yard line but it was kicked wide of the posts and the score was still 0-0 in the begging of the second quarter.
Since both teams had scored a combined of 356 point leading up to this game we knew that they could make plays on offense so the biggest reason for the scoreless beginning was that both teams played great on defense, with all eleven players flying to ball on every play.
– We kept our poise on defense and stopped Japan from getting any big plays. We had scouted their offense on film all week long, but they had hidden some plays from us that they brought out today, said Horacio García, HC of Team Mexico.
With about nine minutes left of the first half Team Mexico put up a long drive from deep in their own territory that started with a long rushing play by #2 Juan Lopez and ended with a ten yard rushing touch down by #3 Alberto Lopez. With 08:23 left of the first half Mexico took the lead with 0-7 after a 80 yard drive.
With the score 0-7 after the first half of play the outcome of this game was still uncertain. One thing that was certain on the other hand was that this was by far the best game of this tournament and both teams offense, defense and special teams played at their very best and everyone that watched the game was truly entertained so far.
Since Mexico started with the ball in the first half it was Team Japan’s turn to do so in the beginning of the last half of football in this tournament. Japan advanced the ball really good, both on the ground and through the air, and they started to look more like they did in the prior games of the tournament. The drive that started on their own 20 yard line ended with a rushing touch down by #11 Tatsuya Tonka, but unfortunately for team Japan the following kick was wide of the posts. With 06:12 left in the third quarter Mexico still had the lead with the score 6-7.
With 08:15 of the game #35 in Japan, Yuki Ishii, made a huge play when he blocked a 32 yard field goal try from Team Mexico. On the following drive Japan took over they way left of in there last drive, but this time it ended in a punt instead of a touch down even thought their running back, #28 Shu Inoue, kept on running the ball really good.
Just like in the first half #2 Juan Lopez found his way trough Japans front seven and ran for a huge gain for about 45 yards down to Japans second yard line. And just like the last time Mexico was that close to Japan’s end zone #3 Alberto Lopez got the ball in his hands and rushed almost untouched in to the the end zone and extended their lead to 6-14 with 01:30 left of the game.
On the last drive of the game Japan did every thing in their power to get the ball in to the end zone and the last play of the game was a 21 yard pass that was caught in the end zone by a Japanese receiver but he was ruled out of bounds when he landed.
Since the time had run out during that play the game was over and Mexico could raise their hands in the air and celebrate their historical 6-14 victory.
– Penalties and misstakes hurt us today, and to be able to win these kind of games you have to minimize them. It’s always been like that when we play Mexico, tough and even fights. But this was one of the best coached and most disciplined Mexican teams we ever played, said Shinzo Yamada, Japan’s Head of Delegation.