By John Philip Wyllie
Up until Saturday, the 2002 SDSU football season had been one of frustration and disappointment for massive right guard (6’3” 305), Raul Gomez. Projected as a starter in the preseason, the Oceanside High School product found himself on the bench when the season opened Aug. 29 with a disappointing loss to Fresno State. While Gomez watched helplessly from the sidelines, that loss, was compounded by four more in rapid succession.
After finally winning back his starting job several weeks ago, Gomez developed an untimely staph infection in his left leg which further delayed his debut into the starting lineup. Now healthy and ready to make up for lost time, Gomez and his fellow Aztecs are coming off one of the biggest wins in school history, a 37-16 trouncing of Utah, a team expected by many to win the Mountain West Conference championship.
As an offensive lineman, Gomez and his associates up front are not likely to get a lot of media attention in this or any season. Their role however, in providing quarterback Adam Hall (26 of 39 for 294 yards and two TDs) the time he needs to throw the ball cannot be overemphasized. Gomez and company also did a fine job of opening holes from freshman Michael Franklin (12 carries for 67 yards) to run through. The 116 overall rushing yards represented a season high.
The Aztecs 1-5 record is deceiving. With a little luck and without a couple of critical mistakes, their record might just as easily be 4-2. Regardless, the Black and Red are still very much alive in the Mountain West Conference. With their tough non-conference schedule now out of the way and a very beatable Wyoming team on tap for Saturday, the Aztecs may yet get their season on track. They return to the “Q” October 26 to face UNLV.