Freshman phenom: Reed has more touchdown passes than incompletions so far

Michael Kelley

Photo by Austin Drucker ‘17

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Drew Reed. If you don’t recognize the name now, familiarize yourself with it. Reed could be Lafayette football’s savior.

The freshman from Lakeland, Tenn. has exploded onto the scene for Lafayette (2-5, 2-0 PL). Against Holy Cross last weekend, Reed completed 21 of 22 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns to put Lafayette (2-5, 2-0 PL) in position to control its own destiny for the league championship.

“Drew, what happened on that one incompletion?” a reporter asked at Tuesday’s media luncheon as the room broke out in laughter.

Reed attempted to explain but the question said it all – Lafayette may have finally found its answer at quarterback. And that must bring well needed relief to head coach Frank Tavani as his team prepares for the final stretch of its season with a league championship within grasp.

Reed became the first Lafayette quarterback to throw for five plus touchdowns since Rob Curley set a Patriot League record in 2009 with seven. He is the first athlete in Patriot League history to win both the Patriot League Offensive Player and Rookie of the Week awards. His 20 straight completions tied a league record.

Perhaps the most impressive statistic is that Reed currently has more touchdown passes (7) than incompletions (6).

His learning speed of the playbook, reads and progressions have proven critical to his immediate success. The preseason third string quarterback, Reed did not receive many reps in practice until quarterback Zach Zweizig ‘15 suffered a concussion against Penn on September 21. He then moved to the second string spot before overtaking struggling Andrew Dzurik ‘16 after halftime against Harvard.

“People have been asking me, ‘what have we been doing hiding him from the league?’” Tavani said. “I don’t care who you are, where you came from, your head is on a spin just trying to get [the playbook].

Reed was at Lafayette for most of the summer to get a head start.

“I think it helped quite a bit,” Reed said. “Just getting to know the guys and get on the same page with them. Getting stronger and faster and being physically ready for this year.”

 

Championship within sight

Regarding the win on Saturday, Tavani said, “it was a pleasure to see us come out and play that way,” Tavani said.

To win its first championship since 2006, Lafayette must continue to play “that way.” The final four weeks of the schedule features three league matchups in Georgetown, Colgate and Lehigh. Lafayette and Colgate are currently tied for first in the league standings and if both win this weekend, the Nov. 9 matchup at Fisher Field will have major championship implications.

Bucknell shocked the league last weekend with its 48-10 victory against reigning league champion Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks dropped from No. 15 to No. 22 in the Sports Network poll.

“Every game now is a championship game at this time of the season,” Tavani said. “That is the goal our seniors set forth to win a Patriot League Championship.”

“Any given Saturday, anything could happen.”

 

Ross breaks records

Prior to the game against Holy Cross, wide receiver Mark Ross ‘14 needed two catches and 149 receiving yards to surpass John Weyrauch ‘04 in both all-time lists.

It did not take long as Ross had a career day, totaling eight catches for 151 yards and three touchdowns.

“Just give him a chance and he will make a play for you,” Reed said of Ross. “He’s a great guy to have. He makes my job a lot easier.”

“Mark [had] the type of day you would expect from the best receiver in the conference,” Tavani said.

 

Mr. Popular

“The week before, there was nothing on there,” Tavani said regarding his phone after Lafayette lost 35-16 to Harvard.

After a league win though?

“I had 19 texts, 24 emails and about 16 phone calls,” Tavani said. “That hasn’t happened in a long time.”

“No one wants to deal with a head coach following a loss.”

 

Zweizig likely out for season

Zweizig continues to suffer from post-concussion syndrome and has been sidelined since Sept. 21. Tavani has classified his return this season as “highly unlikely.”

He has not yet passed the necessary tests to return and has not run or lifted weights for six weeks. With just four weeks remaining in the season, Zweizig may opt to take a medical redshirt.