Princeton University dominates Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan

  • August 11, 2015
Princeton University capped their spring practice season with a 36-7 victory over the Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters, the national college champion of Japan, in their “Legacy Bowl” match-up Saturday, March 21. The last time they faced the Fighters was in 2001, where they only pulled out a victory after a late field goal that ended the game at 27-25. The Tigers ability to pursue the ball and maintain good balance on defense made for an impressive Princeton performance.
Tigers ready on the field to face the Fighters

Tigers ready on the field to face the Fighters

The Tigers put up its first six points six minutes into the first quarter. A long pass by junior quarterback Chad Kanoff put them on the goal line, and a handoff to junior running back A.J. Glass resulted in a touchdown. Princeton, looking to experiment after its spring practices, attempted a 2-point conversion. The ball was fumbled on the one yard line, and the Tigers were forced to hand over the ball to the Fighters.It didn’t take long for a turn-over, and five minutes later, Princeton set itself up with on the 10-yard line after a 25-yard rush by senior running back Dré Nelson. Two plays later, a touchdown pass from Kanoff to senior wide receiver Isaiah Barnes and a successful field goal kick by placekicker Nolan Bieck put the Tigers at 13-0.Princeton scored twice more before halftime.Early in the second quarter at third-and-goal Glass dove for another touchdown. The Tigers failed to earn the extra point after another attempted 2-point conversion pass was batted down by the Fighter defense.The second score came when senior quarterback Kedric Bostic tossed it to junior running back Joe Rhattigan. The Tigers ticked on the extra point with a kick and ended the half at 26-0.When Princeton returned to the field for the third quarter, they didn’t let up.Their streak continue with a 30-yard punt return by sophomore linebacker Mark Fossati that set up the Tigers for a field goal on the 15-yard line.Midway into the third quarter, Kanoff passed to junior wide receiver James Frusciante for a touchdown. Another extra point put the score at 36-0.

Kwansei Gakuin was able to gain its only seven points on the Tigers with four minutes left in the game, when they rushed from the 10-yard line for a touchdown to cap the game at 36-7.


Tigers celebrate after their victory.

The spring victory sent the Tigers home satisfied and optimistic heading into the fall. The “Legacy Bowl” showed a strong run for both offensive and defensive players. Every player experienced time on the field, allowing Princeton to experiment with their play before the Sept. 19 against Lafayette College.

“We did some things we don’t usually do in the regular season, trying to get some practice,” Head Coach Bob Surace said. “We really involved a lot of people and were successful in various positions. We moved the ball well throughout the first quarter almost all the way through the third quarter.”

Kanoff’s 15 passes for 207 yards earned him the 2015 Legacy Bowl MVP title. Freshman quarterback John Lovett also took to the field, catching five passes for 65 yards and rushing for 40 yards.

Princeton also displayed a strong rushing game. Glass rushed for 12 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson rushed 11 times for 77 yards. Rhattigan rushed 11 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.

In the passing game, the Tigers also impressed. Barnes had three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown, and Frusciante had six catches for 66 yards. Junior tight end Scott Carpenter had three catches for 53 yards.

“We did a good job of keeping things simple, and coaches did a good job adapting,” Surace said. “We ran 90 plays, and in 82 or 83 of them, we made good decisions. Young guys who might be quote-un-quote inexperienced really stepped up, and that’s something to build on.”

Defensively, Princeton also stood out.

Junior defensive backs Sam Huffman and Markus Phox had interceptions. Sophomore linebacker Quincy Wolff and junior defensive back Matt Arends had sacks.

“Defensively, we maintained good balance between pressure and good technique, which was really good to see,” Surace said. “We tackled extremely well and did a good job on third downs and getting off the field in the first half.”

The plan for the Tigers in the coming months is to make corrections based on game film. Coaches will meet with players individually to target areas needing improvement. The team will focus on their conditioning and lifting program.

“We have to keep getting stronger and faster,” Surace said. “We can sit down and meet with players individually, and hammer home two or three things that will go from weaknesses to strength in the next months before Lafayette.”