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Penn senior Mike Mitchell threw one of his four touchdown passes on the first play after the lightning delay. [Ari Friedman/The Daily Pennsylvanian]

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- When the Penn football team prepared for Saturday's game at Lehigh, there were certain elements that had to be taken into consideration.

Penn's offensive coordinator Andy Coen came to the Quakers after putting in six years with the Engineers. Both teams' offenses look remarkably similar. If the Red and Blue were to have any chance of winning, they would probably have to throw in a few tricks.

There was the injured defensive line to pump up and improve before kickoff.

But there was nothing that could have prepared the Quakers for what would become the most important aspect of the game.

With 6:52 remaining in the third quarter and Penn trailing 24-10, the referees blew their whistles and halted play -- for 1:06 -- due to lightning. The NCAA rule declares there must be a 30-minute wait period after the final strike of lightning in the area. To top it off, it began to rain shortly thereafter.

As fans poured out of the stands, both squads headed back to their respective locker rooms -- only 10 minutes after halftime. In that hour, Penn regrouped. In that hour, Lehigh lost a very important football game.

When the clouds moved past Goodman Stadium, it became a whole new ballgame.

A Penn team that struggled consistently in the first half had a completely different presence on the field. The Quakers, behind solid play from quarterback Mike Mitchell, were confident and determined.

After the break, Lehigh looked nothing like its first-half self. The Engineers fell flat on offense and dropped pressure on defense. Just like that, an impressive Lehigh squad collapsed.

There were three components to Penn's come-from-behind win, and they all began after the delay.

On offense, two players came alive for the Red and Blue -- quarterback Mitchell and wide receiver Dan Castles. On the first play after the break, Mitchell found Castles for an eight-yard score. The two connected four times for 52 yards in the in the final quarter alone.

Castles finished the day with 12 catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns -- all career-highs for the junior receiver.

On defense, Penn shut down Lehigh tailback Jermaine Pugh. The 5'6", 165-pound senior led the Engineers in the first half, cutting through the Penn defense, especially after linebacker Steve Lhotak left the game with a knee injury. He had 13 carries for 31 yards at the half.

But after the break, Pugh disappeared. Penn's defense stepped up, holding the tailback to measly final statistics. Pugh had 21 carries for 42 yards.

Finally, the Red and Blue benefited from a soaked, torn-up Goodman Stadium field.

Although Penn's new white uniforms looked fairly dismal heading into the fourth quarter, the Quakers' offense couldn't complain. Mitchell and Castles finished off their stellar half on more solid footing -- the opposite half of the field of the water damage. As the Engineers' receivers and running backs continually slipped, Penn was on healthier ground. As Lehigh coach Pete Lembo said, "field position is critical."

Without a few strikes of lightning, the ending to Saturday's matchup would have likely been dramatically different -- but certainly not predictable.

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