Greg Paulus Debuts at Syracuse, Throws Game AwayPosted by rtmsf on September 5th, 2009
We promise we won’t do this every week he plays, but we wanted to post about Greg Paulus’ debut as the starting QB at Syracuse today. Considering that he hadn’t played competitive football in five years, his overall performance was pretty astounding (19-31 for 167 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). Most of his success was in the first half, though, as all twenty Orange points and the majority of its yardage came before the break. Syracuse led 20-14, but in the second half, Paulus’ offense sputtered as the Orange managed only three first downs the rest of the way.
However, it was what happened in the overtime that will mark Paulus’ first game as disappointing. At third and goal from the Minnesota five, Paulus peeled left and threw into triple coverage in the end zone rather than dumping the ball into the stands. The pass was intercepted by Nate Triplett, setting up Minnesota’s FG to win the game 23-20 on its next possession. This will be written off as a rookie mistake by a player who had an otherwise solid debut game, but to our untrained eyes it was vaguely reminiscent of several end-of-game scenarios involving a young Paulus at Duke (this one especially). Rather than making the smart, simple decision, he choked on it at a critical juncture and ended up hurting his team.
It’ll be interesting to see how Paulus plays the rest of the season and if he learns from this mental error. At minimum, Syracuse appears better than they were last year, which has to give Orange fans something to rally around.