52nd Panda Games preview

OTTAWA, ON – For far too long, TD Place has remained dormant of OUA Football. The rivalry of the south side vs north side, Carleton vs Ottawa, has waited for a chance to re-emerge. After two and a half years, the feud finally gets restarted. On Saturday, October 2, the Ravens & Gee-Gees meet again to take the battlefield and compete in the 52nd edition of the Panda Games.

Valerie Wutti/Carleton Athletics

The Ravens are coming off an impressive 30-17 road victory against the York Lions. Standout Wide Receiver Keaton Bruggeling, (who has certainly not been struggling), finished the game with three catches for 35 yards and two touchdowns. He has asserted himself as a red zone threat for the Ravens and someone who the Gee-Gees will have to be aware of at all times on the field. On top of Bruggeling’s big start to the season, “We simply have to continue to execute and build off of what we did last week,” said Bruggeling.

WR Glodin Mulali has been another go-to name for Ravens QB Tanner Dejong. Muliali broke out last game against the Lions for six catches for 112 yards and one TD and he is looking to keep that momentum rolling into Saturday’s game.

Photo: Seyran Mammadov.
Seyran Mammadov

On the other side of the field, the Gee-Gees are off to a rough start at 0-2 with a losing effort last week against Queens. Looking through their games so far this season, the offence and defence for the Gee-Gees have not been good at all. Surrendering 20.5 points per game and having a scoring rate of 8.5 points per game just doesn’t cut it. They are certainly looking to change that against the Ravens this Saturday.

A couple of standout players for the Gee-Gees that the Ravens should be aware of are WR Rodney Estime and RB Dawson Odei. Rodney Estime started the season strong as he had eight catches for 149 yards but struggled in their 2nd game against Queens, where he only had 59 receiving yards. RB Dawson Odei has consistently rushed for 50+ yards in both of the games this season.

Beyond the field, Panda is a welcome sight for the students being back in the stands at TD Place for the Panda Games. “I’m excited. The fact that we get to participate in events as a school community again is way bigger than any individual game could be.” said one first-year Carleton student.

The excitement from Carleton faithful is equally matched by their cross-town rivals “I’m excited! This is going to be my first Panda Game, and I’m definitely fired up for it!” said a first-year Ottawa student.

“Personally, I’m really excited; I’ve never even seen a football game before, so to go to such a big one like this is an amazing experience!” said another Ravens student.

Being back in the stands means a lot for both students, and they are happy to watch their respective teams duel it out. The players are looking forward to the boost as well. “I’m looking forward to the energy, it’s been a while, and our team hasn’t played in front of a full crowd, never mind Panda,” said Bruggeling. “There’s nothing like it once you’re on the field.”

The Ottawa Gee-Gees hold an all-time record of 34-17 in the Panda Games. They won the last Panda Games in 2019 by a score of 32-10.

Kick off goes at 12 p.m EST
The game is available at CBC Sports


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