Pedro the Panda will be staying at the University of Ottawa for another year after the Ottawa Gee-Gees (4-2) defeated the Carleton Ravens (2-4) by a score of 32-10 in the 51st Panda Game on Saturday at TD Place.
In front of a sold-out record-breaking crowd of 24,600, the eyes of the university football world were once again on Canada's capital for the greatest rivalry game the nation has to offer. A star studded coin-toss featuring uOttawa alumni and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek alongside Ottawa REDBLACKS kicker and Gee-Gees alum Lewis Ward kicked off the festivities.
Though the Gee-Gees found the scoreboard first on a rouge, the Ravens wasted no time in jumping on the lead, a 31-yard field goal from Keiran Flannery-Fleck put Carleton in-front 3-1 to close the first quarter.
Carleton's most significant offensive drive of the day came in the second quarter, handing them their lone touchdown. Quarterback Tanner DeJong found Quinton Soares for an 8-yard TD to put the Ravens up 10-1.
With their defence playing strong through the early goings, the Gee-Gees got some momentum going on a Carleton-conceded safety, which allowed them to be within one-score striking distance.
The strike they needed came with 8:51 left in the third quarter, when Carleton running back Nathan Carter fumbled in his own end zone, the ball was quickly jumped on by Tramayne Stephen for his team's first touchdown of the afternoon.
Tides quickly turned fully into the Gee-Gees favour for the remainder of the game following the touchdown. Another outstanding defensive showing saw Réshaan Davis lay a booming hit on DeJong causing the ball to pop loose, fellow defensive lineman Francis Perron scooped the ball and ran it back 22-yards for the score.
Holding a 18-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Ottawa was able to ice the game with their first two offensive touchdowns from running backs Jordan Burgher and Donald Shaw for one and five yards respectively.
Much like the 2018 Panda Game, Carleton struggled with penalties throughout, taking 13 for 138 yards. The Gee-Gees took advantage of six turnovers, with captains Cody Cranston, Thomas Carrier, and Luke Griese logging the interceptions in the win.
Offensively, the Gee-Gees gained only 211 yards, but moved the ball effectively in the late-stages of the game with quarterback Matt Mahler under-centre.
The win improves Ottawa's all-time advantage in the game to 34-17, and is the Gee-Gees' third win since the game's return in 2013.
Up next, the Gee-Gees will have a quick turnaround to their next matchup as the team host the Windsor Lancers (1-6) on Friday night at Gee-Gees Field. Kick off is set for 7 p.m., tickets are available at tickets.geegees.ca and the game will be streaming live on OUA.tv.