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OCTOBER 14 -- Two long scoring drives to start off the third quarter turned a 23-19 nail-biter into an insurmountable 37-19 lead, as the Penn football team rallied from an early deficit to soundly defeat Columbia, 43-25.

Gavin Hoffman passed for 235 yards and three touchdowns, and backup tailback Mike Verille - who took over full-time after Kris Ryan left with a sprained knee in the first quarter - rushed for 97 yards and scored twice, as the Quakers (3-2, 2-0 Ivy League) brushed aside the upstart Lions (2-3, 0-2).

Neither team punted in an offensive-dominated first half, but thanks to a Fred Plaza interception and a Brian Drake fumble recovery that gave Penn great field position and set up two scoring drives, the Quakers led at the break.

"The first half was a game of the short field," Penn coach Al Bagnoli said. "Whoever had the field position was going to score, and they had it off of kickoff returns, and we had it off of the turnovers."

Penn came out of the locker room on fire, and turned the game totally in its favor in the third quarter. The Quakers went 76 yards in just five plays, capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by tailback Todd Okolovitch, to open the second half.

"That was a huge drive," Penn linebacker Dan Morris said. "When the offense came out and scored to start the half, we knew the defense had to shut the door, and we did. The defense didn't make the mistakes it had [made] in the first half."

Hoffman went 8-for-8 in the quarter, the Quakers led the Lions 173-19 in total offense in the period and Penn scored three times in the first 15:04 of the second half, to end any thoughts of an upset.

"They just whipped us in the third quarter," Columbia coach Ray Tellier said. We knew they were a good offensive team, and we just couldn't stop them. And we couldn't generate out own offense in the third quarter."

Johnathan Reese rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions, but was not utilized much in the second half as Columbia went to a more pass-orientated attack to try to pull themselves out of a three touchdown deficit.

Jason Feinberg kicked three field goals and converted four-of-five extra points, and is now the Quakers all-time leading scorer among placekickers.

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