Ottawa (via Ottawa Gee-Gees) – Pedro the Panda will be staying at the University of Ottawa for another year after the Ottawa Gee-Gees (4-2) defeated the Carleton Ravens (2-4) by a score of 32-10 in the 51st Panda Game on Saturday at TD Place.
In front of a sold-out record-breaking crowd of 24,600, the eyes of the university football world were once again on Canada’s capital for the greatest rivalry game the nation has to offer. A star-studded coin toss featuring uOttawa alumni and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek alongside Ottawa REDBLACKS kicker and Gee-Gees alum Lewis Ward kicked off the OUA’s Marquee Matchup.
Though the Gee-Gees found the scoreboard first on a rouge, the Ravens wasted no time in jumping on the lead, with a 31-yard field goal from Keiran Flannery-Fleck put Carleton in-front 3-1 to close the first quarter.
Carleton’s best offensive drive of the day came in the second quarter, handing them their lone touchdown. Quarterback Tanner DeJong marched down the field with an 11 play, 71-yard drive resulting in an 8-yard touchdown toss to Quinton Soares to put the Ravens up 10-1.
With their defence playing strong through the early goings, the Gee-Gees got some momentum going on a Carleton-conceded safety, which allowed them to be within one-score striking distance.
The strike they needed came with 8:51 left in the third quarter. When Carleton running back Nathan Carter fumbled in his own end zone, the ball was quickly jumped on by Tramayne Stephen for his team’s first touchdown of the afternoon.
Tides quickly turned fully into the Gee-Gees favour for the remainder of the game following the touchdown. Another outstanding defensive showing saw Réshaan Davis lay a booming hit on DeJong causing the ball to pop loose, and fellow defensive lineman Francis Perron scooped the ball and ran it back 22-yards for the score.
Holding a 18-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Ottawa was able to ice the game with their first two offensive touchdowns from running backs Jordan Burgher and Donald Shaw for one and five yards, respectively.
The Ravens offence moved the ball for over 400 yards on offence, DeJong threw for 267 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions, while Soares had 106 yards receiving and one touchdown. Carleton, however, struggled with penalties throughout the game, taking 13 for 138 yards.
The Ottawa defence took advantage of six Carleton turnovers, with captains Cody Cranston, Thomas Carrier, and Luke Griese logging the interceptions for the Gee-Gees. Offensively, the Gee-Gees gained only 211 yards, but moved the ball effectively in the late-stages of the game with quarterback Matt Mahler under centre.
The win improves Ottawa’s all-time advantage in the game to 34-17, and is the Gee-Gees’ third win since the game’s return in 2013.
Up next, both teams will have a quick turnaround to their next matchup. The Gee-Gees will host the Windsor Lancers (1-6) on Friday night at Gee-Gees Field with a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Ravens will be back at MNP Park to host the McMaster Marauders (5-1) on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Both games can be streamed live on oua.tv.