Georgetown senior quarterback Dave Paulus had quite a weekend. On Saturday, Paulus helped the Hoyas beat Bucknell, 32-31, for their first Patriot League win since joining the conference last season. He threw for 350 yards and five touchdowns, earning him Patriot League offensive player of the week honors.
But as good as Paulus's performance was, it wasn't enough to earn top honors in the Paulus family. Paulus's younger brother Greg, also threw for more than 300 yards in a high school playoff game this weekend, but he had six touchdown passes.
"The big joke when I got off the field was that I still didn't top my little brother," said Paulus, who is the oldest of the seven Paulus children. Two of his brothers play at Georgetown: Matt is a junior inside linebacker, Dan a sophomore wide receiver.
Paulus's accomplishments may have come up short in his family, but they were large for Georgetown (3-5). Since he became the starting quarterback on Oct. 12, Paulus has energized the Hoyas.
"Dave is a playmaker," Coach Bob Benson said. "Dave does things that only Dave can do. You have to give Dave credit because he just makes things happen, and it's exciting, it's entertaining and it's one of the reasons we won. . . . For me, the beautiful thing about what he has done is that he has given this team a renewed confidence."
No one expected Paulus to make the impact he has made this season, least of all Paulus. Even though he was the most experienced quarterback on the roster in training camp, he was number three on the depth chart for the season opener behind junior Morgan Booth and sophomore Andrew Crawford.
Paulus, who remained the team's punter, was disappointed when he didn't earn the starting quarterback job. He was particularly frustrated when neither Booth nor Crawford were effective in the team's first five games, four of which were losses.
"We were struggling," Paulus said. "Of course, everyone was down. You're not thinking very optimistically. Maybe we'll start getting ready for next year, build with the younger guys. There were times when I doubted.
"It was extremely hard . . . when I was sitting on the bench and I wasn't doing anything. I didn't even practice [with the quarterbacks]. But you think about how big the program is, how the whole program is moving up, and it became more, what can I do to help out the program? What am I going to leave as my legacy?"
Paulus freely admitted that his penchant for taking risks was what made his coaches nervous about handing him the job. In his sophomore season, the last time he played significantly at quarterback, Paulus threw for the third-most passing yards in school history. But along with his 20 touchdown passes he had 16 interceptions.
"I took a lot of chances that paid off, but there were a few that didn't," Paulus said. "I learned from them."
Paulus needed more than a season to regain the coaches' confidence. Meantime, during his junior year, Sean Peterson took over as the starting quarterback, and Paulus switched to wide receiver.
"Anything I could do to get on the field," Paulus said. "If I wasn't going to play quarterback, then I had to get on the field somehow. I just did what I could."
Paulus was shocked when Benson told him at halftime of the Fordham game that he would replace Crawford. In his first start, he led the Hoyas to a 25-21 win over Davidson. Although he has been hampered by a turf toe injury he suffered in the Fordham game, Paulus has gone 2-1 as a starter. He has completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 825 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As impressive as those statistics are, Benson is most pleased about the category that has a zero in it: interceptions.
"He knows what my expectations are," Benson said. "It's been an interesting journey for him. But now what matters most to me as a head coach is that he's got this team believing in him."