Written by Alex Kurial
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – A sellout crowd at the 50th Panda Game at TD Place saw the uOttawa Gee-Gees come away with a 38-27 victory to capture their first win in the rivalry match in five years.
On the opening play from scrimmage QB Mike Arruda tossed a swing pass out right to WR Quinton Soares, who proceeded to fool the Gee-Gees defense by then throwing his own pass deep down the right side to a wide open Dominic Walker. The Ravens receiver did the rest by sprinting into the endzone for the opening touchdown.
Shortly after that, Carleton looked as if they seize the momentum with an interception by defensive back Jon Edouard, but on the ensuing drive, Arruda’s pass was tipped into the arms of a waiting Rashad Spooner. uOttawa would take advantage of the turnover a few plays later on a touchdown pass from Sawyer Buettner to Carter Matheson to tie the game.
Carleton was able to get their offense going again halfway through the 2nd. Three passes of 15 yards or more drove the Ravens all the way down to the uOttawa 6 yard line, where they capped off the drive with a floating pass over the middle from Arruda to Soares for the score and a 14-7 lead.
The Gee-Gees responded quickly though, as a 40 yard pass from Buettner to a wide open Kalem Beaver down the middle of the field tied things up again at 14. The Gee-Gees added a field goal by Campbell Fair as time expired to go up 17-14 at halftime.
Beaver continued to elude the Carleton defense in the second half, passing the 100 yard mark on another long score of 37 yards this time, putting uOttawa up by ten midway through the 3rd. Things got worse for the Ravens before the quarter was out. After a fumbled punt return by Jalen Jana, Buettner found Dylan St. Pierre at the very back of the end zone to give the Gee-Gees a three score lead 31-14.
Nathan Carter would punch in a 7 yard touchdown run to cut the Gee-Gees lead to 38-20 halfway through the 4th. Carter refused to let the game die, passing 100 yards on the next drive and scoring his 2nd rushing touchdown in just over 3 minutes to bring the Ravens within 11. That was as close as Carleton would get. For uOttawa, the 38-27 victory is their first in the Panda Game since 2013, and first at TD Place. The Gee-Gees leap to 4-1 in the standings, while Carleton drops to 4-2.
Carleton running back Nathan Carter didn’t mince words when addressing his team’s performance. “People weren’t accountable. People made mistakes. People messed up,” Carter said after the game. “We had spurts where we played well. But that doesn’t win you games. We need to play a full game of football, and we didn’t do that.”
One positive is that Carter and the Ravens realize what they need to work on as they enter the final two games of the season. “We had a wake up call,” said Carter. “We need to execute our base plays. Finish. Play a good 60 minutes of football.”
Laurier @ Carleton
Friday, October 5 (1 PM)
MNP Park – Ottawa, ON