Gaels blow late lead, lose home opener

Ottawa Gee-Gees erase 14-point deficit to stun Queen's at Richardson Stadium

Ottawa linebacker Tanner Care recovers Jonah Pataki's fumble in the first quarter. The Gee-Gees would score on the ensuing drive.
Ottawa linebacker Tanner Care recovers Jonah Pataki's fumble in the first quarter. The Gee-Gees would score on the ensuing drive.
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Wide receiver Curtis Carmichael snags a touchdown pass in the second quarter, one of his eight grabs on the day.
Wide receiver Curtis Carmichael snags a touchdown pass in the second quarter, one of his eight grabs on the day.
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A fourth-quarter collapse stole a win away from the Gaels in today’s home opener.

Leading the Ottawa Gee-Gees 30-16 with 10 minutes remaining in the game, turnovers and defensive struggles caused Queen’s (1-1) to drop the game 37-30.

The Gee-Gees (2-0) took advantage of offensive mistakes, racking up three touchdowns off turnovers.

After Gaels receiver Curtis Carmichael fumbled at midfield, Ottawa quarterback Derek Wendel led a touchdown drive in the final two minutes.

Running back Mack Tommy sealed it for the Gee-Gees with 16 seconds left, punching it in from two yards out.

The tying touchdown also came off a turnover. Queen’s quarterback Billy McPhee’s late interception was turned into a drive that ended with a 24-yard touchdown reception by Tommy off a swing pass.

Wendel torched the Gaels secondary for 401 yards through the air and three touchdowns, while adding another 104 yards on the ground. McPhee threw for 318 yards, two touchdowns and the interception.

The loss was a shocking upset for the Gaels, who were ranked ninth in Canada heading into the game. Before today, Queen’s had won 14 consecutive games at Richardson Stadium, dating back to Sept. 17, 2011.

For the second week in a row, the Gaels looked like two different teams, as they struggled in the first and fourth quarters and looked dominant in the middle frames.

After the first quarter Ottawa held a 14-0 lead, thanks in part to the Gaels’ lack of disciplined play.

For the next two quarters, Queen’s took over as the Gee-Gees’ only points came on a safety. McPhee hit Curtis Carmichael and Jonah Pataki for touchdowns in the second quarter, while Pataki ran for a touchdown of his own. Dillon Wamsley added three field goals.

Wendel took over in the final 10 minutes, leading three touchdown drives to give the Gee-Gees the win.

Carmichael and fellow receiver Alex Carroll both went over 100 yards in the game, while Pataki rushed for 157 yards.

The Gaels next head into action on Sept. 13, when they face the Western Mustangs (1-0) at Richardson Stadium.

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