A massive crowd of 23,078 was on hand at TD Place Stadium on Saturday to watch the Ottawa Gee-Gees defeat the Carleton Ravens in the 53rd Panda Bowl by a score of 37-7.
The score was 17-7 heading into the fourth quarter before two field goals from Campbell Fair and two touchdown runs from Jean-Paul Cimankinda blew the game wide open to secure the victory for the Gee-Gees.
Ottawa’s offence moved the ball seemingly at will, generating 572 yards of total offence. Third-year quarterback Ben Maracle completed 20-of-23 pass attempts for 354 yards and two touchdowns, while fourth-year running back Jean-Paul Cimankinda rushed 31 times for 166 yards and two scores. Third-year receiver Nicholas Gendron was Maracle’s favourite target on the day as he caught eight passes for 211 yards and one touchdown.
The Ravens struggled to move the ball throughout the game, generating only 215 yards of total offence. Fifth-year quarterback Tanner DeJong completed 10-of-16 pass attempts for 125 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, while fourth-year running back Josh Ferguson carried the ball 16 times for 62 yards.
The crowd was larger than any the Ottawa Redblacks have drawn to the same venue this season. The Panda Game is known for its raucous atmosphere, which spilled out into the Sandy Hill neighbourhood following the game.
The police issued a statement indicating that as of 1:15 a.m. local time on Sunday, seven people had been arrested for reasons including public intoxication and mischief. They described the behaviour they witnessed as “unacceptable, dangerous and, in some cases, criminal.”
The first Panda Game was played in 1955 and carries the name of the trophy that is handed out to the winner, Pedro the Panda (pictured). The Gee-Gees hold a 36-17 all-time record in the rivalry contest with Carleton’s most recent win coming in 2017. The game set a new attendance record in 2019 with a crowd of 24,600.