A record 17,956 in attendance for second straight shocking loss to rival Ravens
Photo: Marta Kierkus
Sometimes lightning strikes twice. The heartbreak of a freak catch to end the Panda Game in 2014 was enough stress any Gee-Gees fan could handle in a day. The 2015 version, ending in a 48-45 double overtime loss, might’ve actually hurt more.
Popular opinion would suggest that the Gee-Gees football team is better than Carleton. The Gee-Gees have an experienced and talented team that was ranked among the top in the nation. Looking at the past two years it seems the Ravens have their rival’s number, and played their hearts out until the hearts of Gees fans were broken.
The game itself was a back-and-forth affair, highlighted by U of O quarterback Derek Wendel, whose staggering performance was overshadowed by a sub-par performance by Gees defence.
The fourth-year QB absolutely peppered the Carleton defence for 542 yards and four touchdowns through the air along with 61 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Wendel’s two mistakes were interceptions on forced throws, neither severely altered the game.
Carleton’s offence was jumpy at times with quarterback Jesse Mills lacking the intangibles of an elite passer. Despite this apparent advantage, poor tackling and reads from the Gee-Gees defence enabled the Ravens to keep the game close.
Simply put, Carleton played the game like their season was on the line. It’s not to say that the Gee-Gees didn’t want the win, but it was a result of willingness to control the game and secure a win. For the second consecutive year, the better team lost the game.
“We played up to a really good team,” said Nate Behar, the Carleton Ravens’ star receiver. “I mean it’s almost better than last year’s, back-to-back feels pretty freakin’ special.”
Unfortunately, Derek Wendel’s special day was overshadowed by the defeat. Breaking the record for most passing yards in a game in school history is a pretty special achievement, but it was also good enough to tie for 11th all time in Canadian university football history.
“It’s a tough one,” Wendel told Chris Hofley of the Ottawa Sun. “We did what we could, it was a pretty decent offensive effort going both ways.”
Modesty is pretty commonplace for Wendel. Even after a career effort, it comes down to the pieces around him not executing fully.
Multiple drops killed drives on offence, and a banged up defensive line and linebacking core caused matchup problems on defence.
After a Gee-Gee third-down gamble led to a Ravens field goal to ice the game, there was all silence from the Ottawa coaching staff.
The Ottawa Citizen reported that “Gee-Gees coach Jamie Barresi hauled his quarterback away from the scrum and barked at the media to talk to him later”, proving the effect a result like this can have on a team.
Although Wendel didn’t get to say much about his team’s performance, Ravens receiver Nate Behar had something to say when asked if he respected anything the Gee-Gees did. “Well they threw the ball well, I’ll say that,” he admitted hesitantly.
The season is far from over for the Gee-Gees as the they look to snap their losing skid against the 2-3 Laurier Golden Hawks on Oct. 9, a Friday night game in Waterloo. The matchup has massive playoff implications, as the victor is likely headed to the playoffs while the team on the losing end is likely to miss out on the postseason.
Following the trip to Laurier, the Gees will gear up to become the Western Mustangs’ first test of the season the following weekend. A soft schedule has benefited a strong Mustangs team, but if the Gees can muster a win, the team could regain much respect across the country.
Kickoff against the Golden Hawks is at 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on OUA.tv.
—With files from Tima Hacini