CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- As the losses have mounted, the goals have diminished. So as Maryland prepares for its noon game against North Carolina today at Kenan Stadium, one of the only things left to play for is pride.
If Maryland (2-5 overall, 2-2 ACC) loses, it will be the Terps' fourth losing season under fifth-year coach Joe Krivak, who was given a new four-year contract after last season. The Terps still have to play Penn State, Clemson and North Carolina State.
"Another losing season, that's always a consideration for motivation, but we don't feel like our backs are up against the wall," said fifth-year senior Dan DeArmas, Maryland's kicker.
"We're just looking at this as another opportunity to win a conference game. This team has a lot of pride. We figure we owe them something from last year," said DeArmas.
Last season, North Carolina embarrassed the Terps, 34-10, here. The Tar Heels finished the season at 6-4-1, and many of their fans thought beating Maryland was the turning point in the program under fourth-year coach Mack Brown.
It was the same feeling around the Maryland campus last year after the Terps finished 6-5-1 and tied Louisiana Tech, 34-34, in the Poulan/Weed-Eater Independence Bowl. But both teams have struggled this season, especially with injuries. But even more frustrating for the Tar Heels (4-3, 1-3) is that they returned 19 of 22 starters.
Last year, quarterback Todd Burnett, then a junior, completed 23 of 36 passes for 312 yards against Maryland, but there's no indication whether he will get a chance to repeat his performance or not.
Junior starting quarterback Chuckie Burnette has suffered a series of physical problems in the past three games, and Burnett, a senior, has spelled him. But Burnett suffered an injury to his sternum in the 35-14 loss to Georgia Tech last week and Burnette had to play. This week, freshman Jason Stanicek has gotten some practice time.
"We're just working all three this week to try to see who's healthy enough and we'll just have to make that decision at game time on which direction we'll go," Brown said.
Krivak is concerned more with North Carolina's offensive line and halfbacks Natrone Means and Randy Jordan. Means has rushed for 527 yards on 120 carries, and Jordan has 407 yards on 85 attempts.
"It's going to be the kind of game that we've got to be able to hang in there," Krivak said. "The big thing is we just can't turn it over and give up the big plays like we did last year when they just blew us away.
"In some games they have scored 50 points and in other games, they have had enough yards to score 50 points. They have been a little inconsistent, so you know which team we would like to show up Saturday."