WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Two years ago, when Maryland played Wake Forest at Groves Stadium, the Terps had lost four of five games, including three straight. But Maryland walked away with a 27-7 victory over the Demon Deacons.
Groves Stadium has been a nice place for the Terps. Maryland hasn't lost to Wake Forest here since 1979, and today, the Terps (1-4 overall, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) are on another in-search-of mission, this time trying to break a four-game losing streak by beating the Demon Deacons (1-4, 0-2) at 1 p.m.
It's the first game the Terps might consider a breather after playing Virginia, Syracuse, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. Meanwhile, Wake Forest's only win was a 40-24 decision over Western Carolina. It has lost to such teams as Northwestern and Appalachian State.
But as far as Maryland coach Joe Krivak is concerned, the Terps dTC can't afford to overlook any team even though Wake Forest has lost 14 consecutive ACC games.
"We're in no position where we can fool around," said Krivak. "What we need is a win, one where we can gain some self-confidence back. They're 1-4 and we're 1-4. The best thing about this game is that around 3:30 or 4 o'clock somebody is going to walk out of that stadium with a smile on their face."
Wake Forest coach Bill Dooley expects a close game. He liked what he saw from his team last week in a 24-10 loss to North Carolina in which the Demon Deacons took an early 7-0 lead.
"We're disappointed in our record. I'm sure Maryland is disappointed, too, even though they have played a very difficult schedule," said Dooley. "We must be prepared to play with the same type of spirit and mental sharpness that we had at North Carolina, but we must do it just a little better and we have to play for 60 minutes.
"What you'll see on Saturday are two teams hungry for a win, and that usually produces a close, exciting football game."
The two teams are statistically close in almost every category. Maryland's defense is last in the ACC, allowing 404.2 total yards per game, and Wake Forest is only slightly better with a 384 average.
Maryland is averaging only 14.2 points per game. Wake Forest is managing 14.6. But the key matchup will be Maryland's secondary against Wake Forest's passing game. Wake Forest is averaging 216 yards passing. Maryland is allowing 235.4.
One has to give.
"We've got to put pressure on their quarterback," said Maryland inside linebacker Mike Jarmolowich. "Traditionally, we've always been able to stop their running game. Their passing has given us trouble."
To make matters worse, Maryland's secondary won't be at full strength. Starting right cornerback Scott Rosen is out for the season with a pulled hamstring. Reserve cornerback Mike Hopson won't play because of a sprained ankle and free safety Andre Vaughn, used in the Terps' nickel coverage, is out with a knee sprain, the same injury that will sideline outside linebacker Greg Hines.
"We've got to go with what we've got and see what happens even if that means putting in a true freshman," said Krivak.