The Carleton Ravens captured Pedro the Panda and halted no. 7 ranked Ottawa’s undefeated start to the season with a 43-23 victory in the Panda Game, presented by Air Canada on Saturday. TD Place was packed with 23,329 fans, many of whom spilled onto the field from the south side stand to celebrate with the Ravens at the end of the game.
Following a 10-10 first quarter which featured strong play from Bryce Vieira and a 20-yard touchdown by Kalem Beaver, the Ravens slowly pulled ahead. Several Ottawa drives looked promising before being halted for field goals, while Carleton took advantage of the special teams unit and an interception deep in Gee-Gees territory to dominate field position. Ottawa had 29 total first downs [compared to 26 for Carleton] but were limited to two touchdowns.
Tunde Adeleke of the Ravens returned the first missed field goal of Lewis Ward’s season for a touchdown with ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to put Carleton solidly in front, 40-16.
“That was more or less the dagger right there but there were other things that were telltale prior to that,” noted Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. “We’re much better than this – we’ve shown it before and I have higher expectations.”
The Gee-Gees had a golden opportunity in the second half to close the gap after Parker Bolton flushed Carleton quarterback Jesse Mills out of pocket to force an interception by Ricard Lubin at the Ottawa 50. The momentum quickly swung back in favour of the Ravens as the defence came up with a third consecutive two and out.
“We got the play calls that we needed,” added Gee-Gees quarterback Derek Wendel, who emphasized execution as the issue. “We didn’t break tackles and we needed to make big plays like we have every week so far.”
Carleton, now 4-2 on the season, was led by receiver Nate Behar with 138 yards and two touchdowns as well as running back Jayde Rowe who collected 130 yards on 27 attempts. Ottawa was able to handle Rowe early but he was a force in the middle portion of the game. The defensive backs on both teams were consistently draped closely to their receivers, making every catch a difficult one.
Wendel finished with 339 yards passing while Bryce Vieira netted 113 rushing yards along with five catches for 39 yards. “Bryce ran all over the field here and the o-line really stepped up in the run game. That will be good to build on next week,” said Wendel. “Going into the fourth quarter we stepped it up and I think it gives us some momentum for next week. I know we can make plays – we need to keep working towards the team that we know we can be.”
York (2-3) at Ottawa (4-1)
Friday Oct. 7
Webcast live on OUA.tv