WORCESTER, Mass. -- Freshman Drew Reed's first collegiate start at quarterback was an impressive one, by any standard. The Tennessee native completed 21-of-22 for 283 yards and five touchdowns as the Lafayette roughed up Holy Cross 41-23 on Saturday at Fitton Field. Reed completed his final 20 passes in the win that saw Lafayette improve to 2-0 in conference play.
Senior wide receiver Mark Ross had his top game of the 2013 season, making eight catches for 151 yards. With his second catch of the game, Ross became the all-time leading receiver in Lafayette history with 169 catches for 2,409 yards, surpassing John Weyrauch '04 (162, 2,406).
Lafayette moved the ball efficiently all afternoon. On the first drive of the game, the Leopards used nine plays to cover 67 yards. Reed found Ross Scheuerman for a 30-yard screen pass and touchdown. Scheuerman finished with four catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 49 yards on the ground.
Holy Cross responded with a 33-yard John Macomber field goal. The Crusaders had a chance for more as a 36-yard pass from Peter Pujals to Kalif Raymond set up Holy Cross at the Lafayette 21-yard line.
The first quarter ended with Lafayette leading 6-3 and holding the ball 4th-and-1 and the Holy Cross 49. On the first play of the second quarter the Leopards ran play-action and Reed connected with Pat Creahan for a 16-yard first down. Two plays later, Reed tossed a 28-yard pass to Ross who fought off the defender for the touchdown.
The touchdown catch was career grab No. 162 for Ross who is also the Lafayette recordholder for touchdown receptions with 24. Ross second TD catch of the game came with 4:55 left in the half. The 12-yard strike capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive that vaulted Lafayette to a 20-3 lead.
The defense took its turn at scoring. Defensive lineman Steve Mercado tipped a pass at the line that Tyler Robinson picked off and returned the ball 41 yards for a touchdown and a 27-3 margin. It was the Leopards' first pick-six of the season.
Holy Cross (3-6, 1-2) added a touchdown just before halftime as Pujals hit Tyler Artim for a 16-yard score, ending a 10-play, 84-yard drive in two minutes. Lafayette led 27-10 at halftime, its largest halftime advantage of the season.
The second half opened with more of the same offensive effort for the Leopards who received the kick. Reed threw a short flare pass to Sheuerman. He eluded several tacklers and broke away for a 20-yard touchdown and a 34-10 Lafayette advantage with 9:56 left in the third.
Lafayette padded its lead to 41-10 on the final time Reed went to Ross,bthis time a 31-yard scoring strike with 4:13 left in the game. The Crusaders added two late scores on scoring runs of nine and two yards by Gabe Guild for the 41-23 final.
For the second straight series matchup with Holy Cross, the Leopards did not commit a turnover. Lafayette won the turnover battle on Saturday with a pair of interceptions.
Lafayette (2-5, 2-0) continues Patriot League play on Nov. 2 at Georgetown.
Lafayette is 2-0 in Patriot League play for the second straight season. The last time Lafayette started conference play 3-0 was 2009.
Reed's five passing touchdowns are the most by a Lafayette QB since Rob Curley hurled a school-record seven on Nov. 7, 2009 in a 56-49 win over Colgate.