The Carleton Ravens were defeated by the University of Ottawa (U of O) Gee-Gees by a score of 38-27 in the 50th anniversary of the Panda Game at TD Place on Sept. 29.
“We thought what we saw on film was—they just did a hell of a job—man, like they were throwing a bunch of stuff at us, sending a lot of pressures. We weren’t expecting it,” Ravens quarterback Michael Arruda said after the game. “I mean, I think I caught myself looking down at the D-line a bit too much cause they were just sending a bunch of stuff on defense and it was hard to adjust.”
“I think they game-planned well against us, they played—well, they played great. We made way too many mistakes, we hurt ourselves way too many times, and that’s what happens,” Arruda added. “Threw four interceptions that could’ve went the other way easily. They just game-planned well—they did a hell of a job.”
This win would mark the first win for the Gee-Gees since 2013 when they defeated Carleton by a score of 35-10. It also ends the Ravens’ win streak against the Gee-Gees: since 2014, the Ravens had four straight Panda Game victories.
“I feel like in the past years, we’ve been deserving, but this year, we really came together doing what we have to do, and we came out with a victory so it feels really good.” Gee-Gees wide receiver Harrison Tallyhoe said.
The Ravens took an early lead in the first quarter when Ravens wide receiver Dominic Walker hauled in a pass from wide receiver Quinton Soares for 78 yards into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game, as the Ravens took an early 7-0 lead.
Both teams traded interceptions quickly afterward, but it would be Carleton that would make the costly turnover when the Gee-Gees ended up at the 3-yard line. This gave Gee-Gees quarterback Sawyer Buettner a chance to pass the ball to wide receiver Carter Matheson for U of O’s first touchdown of the game to tie the game 7-7.
Both teams continued to make costly mistakes, turnovers, and penalties throughout the first and second halves, as neither team could make a drive down the field.
The Ravens would have a successful drive when Fair attempted a 37-yard field goal which went wide of the uprights. Wide receiver Chad Manchulenko caught the missed kick and ran 19-yards up the sidelines before being brought down. This play allowed the Ravens to eventually make it to the Ravens 37-yard line before Ottawa regained control of the ball.
Carleton soon retook the lead halfway into the second quarter when Soares caught a 6-yard pass from Arruda for the Ravens second touchdown of the game giving Carleton a 14-7 lead.
The Gee-Gees quickly tied the game up with five minutes left in the first half as wide receiver Kalem Beaver received a 40-yard pass from Buettner in the end zone which was soon followed up by a successful conversion kick by Fair.
The tide turned in favor of Ottawa as time expired in the half when Fair kicked a 32-yard field goal through the uprights to take a three-point lead heading into the second half.
The game continued to turn to favor the Gee-Gees halfway through the third quarter when Beaver took a 37-yard pass from Buettner to score Ottawa’s third touchdown of the game. the score would extend the Gee-Gee’s lead to 24-14.
Shortly before the end of the third quarter, the Gee-Gees pulled further ahead as Buettner threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game. The conversion kick from Fair was successful and gave Ottawa a comfortable 31-14 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
U of O continued to add to their lead early in the fourth quarter when Matheson caught a 25-yard pass from Buettner to extend the score to 38-14.
“Back home, we always played our junior games at Mosaic Stadium. So, we used to play in a big stadium, but we never played with a crowd that full before,” Buettner said in an interview provided to the Charlatan by the Gee-Gees’ media relations.
“But, it was a good learning experience,” he said. “I thought our team handled it really well—we lean on some veterans that have been there before. I know I did because this was my first one but it was amazing today.”
The Ravens would score two late touchdowns in the final quarter, which would turn out to be fruitless, as the Gee-Gees took Pedro the Panda home.
With the win, the Gee-Gees pulled ahead of the Ravens in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings to sit at second place with a 4-1 record. The Ravens are now in third place with a 4-2 record.
“We just had better execution for the most part…It’s the simple execution, and again, you play good teams and you just can’t do that,” head coach Steve Sumarah said about the turnaround in the fourth quarter. “The league’s way too tight this year to have those kinds of games and unfortunately we had it this year.”
The Ravens will look to get back into the win column when they face off against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks on Oct. 5 at MNP Park.
Article also appears in The Charlatan