17,956 fans, the biggest CIS crowd this season, packed TD Place to see wan other Panda Game classic. From the first play of the game when receiver Ben Fisher wrestled away a would-be interception, Ottawa showed they would fight every inch to get Pedro back. It took double overtime before the rival Ravens were able to claim the historic bear, winning 48-45.
In a game that featured 1166 yards of offence, defence saved the day for the Ravens. Tied 38-38 after four quarters, the Panda Game was once again going down to the final moments. The teams exchanged touchdowns in the overtime but Carleton sealed another year with Pedro when Michael Domagala hit a 17-yard field goal.
Three Gee-Gees broke personal and school records in the loss. With 228 yards receiving Ian Stewart now has the most receiving yards in a single Gee-Gees game: a record that had been standing since 1998. Quarterback Derek Wendel set a school and personal best with 542 yards. Ben Fisher had a career best 121 yards receiving.
Ravens quarterback Jesse Mills who threw for 217 yards and four touchdowns attributed the victory to defence. “Our defence played a hell of a game, they got turnovers when they needed to and our O-line played a great game. That’s all you can ask for.” The Ravens offensive line's superb play was reflected in the Ravens’ running backs’ numbers. Jahvari Bennett gained 175 yards on the ground while Battistelli had 93 yards rushing on eight carries.
Ravens receiver Nate Behar who was Carleton’s hero last season finished the game with 95 receiving yards, rejoiced the fact that Pedro would stay on his side of the Rideau Canal. “It’s almost better than last year. Back to back feels pretty special. In overtime we showed a lot of resilience. We played up to a really good team,” said Behar.
Missed opportunities defined the game for the Gee-Gees. Ottawa failed to capitalize on a big sack fumble by Mack Tommy and an interception by Tunch Akkaya in the fourth quarter.
An early Wendel pick which was preceded by two big catches by Ben Fisher and Ian Stewart killed what could have been a successful opening drive for Ottawa. Mistakes were abounding for both teams as they combined for 23 penalties for 217 yards. The Ravens were also perfect in the red zone going 5 for 5, while the Gee-Gees were only able to score on 4 out of six trips in the red zone.
Despite the record-breaking day on offence and the big plays and crucial stops from the defence, Ottawa was not able to snatch away a win.
Next up for the Gee-Gees is a Friday night lights matchup on the road against the Laurier Golden Hawks, but for now they will have to wait for another year before they get a chance to bring Pedro back home and think about yet another heart breaking loss…unless the two meet again at some point in the playoffs.