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Uottawa

Panda Game Preview: Gee-Gees ready to reclaim Pedro

Wednesday September 30, 2015
Gee-Gees in action.
Photo: 
Chantal Hupé

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens football teams will renew their rivalry when they face each other in the Panda Game on Saturday, October 3.

Tickets for uOttawa students are on sale for $20 at Sports Services client services desks (Montpetit Hall and Minto Sports Complex). All other tickets are available at capitaltickets.ca. Please note that TD Place has a no bags policy. Tickets to the game include free OC Transpo fare beginning three hours before the game.

For a second straight year, the game will be played at TD Place and despite it being a home game for Ottawa players recognize that it will be different. “It feels like a neutral site. It’s nice just to walk there down the street and we’re a little bit closer than they are. But you don’t feel too homey in that stadium just yet,” shared receiver Ian Stewart.

Last year’s game was a sort of coming out for Stewart’s Raven counterpart Nate Behar. This year both receivers are ranked top 15 in the country, but Stewart has by far the better numbers. Stewart is averaging 126.8 yards per game and has caught five touchdowns this season. Behar on the other hand averages 91.8 yards and has three touchdowns to his name.

Despite putting better numbers than Behar so far, Stewart admits having a star receiver on the other sideline can add pressure. “It puts a little bit more pressure on yourself. I try to compare myself to the best. Going up against one of the best receivers in the league you want to at least match him in a sense of the stats but also with effort level. You want to make sure your team gets the win.”

The two teams are tied for second in Canadian Interuniversity Sports with 14 sacks apiece. Ottawa also has more fumble recoveries than the Ravens. However, Carleton has allowed fewer yards per game and has more interceptions than the Gee-Gees.

Both teams will be looking to bounce back from big losses last week. The Ravens lost 70-14 to the Western Mustangs while the Gee-Gees were defeated 46-28 by Guelph.

Ottawa never seemed able to recover from the three touchdowns they allowed in the opening minutes of the Guelph game.  This time around, Stewart says the team will stick to the game plan, regardless of what happens in the early goings. “We gave Guelph a little bit too much respect. We thought we had to play a little bit off of them, but we just had to stick to our game plan. “

The 2014 edition of the Panda Game will always be remembered for the infamous game winning tipped Hail Mary. Despite the fact that it cost them a win, Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi saw it as just another football play. “I was disappointed. To be honest I chuckled, it’s just one of those things,” said Barresi.

Even with all the extra attention the game has garnered and the importance of Pedro, Barresi says that this game is as crucial to playoff seeding as any. “This game seems to be talked about more. It’s a bigger stage there’s no doubt. It does have significance to the standings, but last week’s game did too."

When asked about what he told his players about the extra outside and attention and playing in front of a CFL sized crowd, Barresi said this: “Deal with it in an orderly fashion. Have fun with it. You get to play in this game only three or four times.”

 Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on Rogers Cable 22, TSN1200 radio, and OUA.tv.