RALEIGH, N.C. -- Maryland will try to overcome adversity and avoid its worst season since 1971 when the Terps meet No. 22 North Carolina State today (1 p.m.) at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Most of the attention this week has focused on whether fifth-year Maryland coach Joe Krivak, in the first year of a renewed four-year contract worth $94,000 a year, would be retained next season.
Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger said Sunday night that he is "95 percent" certain that Krivak would be retained, and Krivak acknowledged that he wanted to return. The two will meet Monday to begin an extensive evaluation of the program.
But that's not the Terps' most pressing problem. Maryland (2-8 overall, 2-4 ACC) needs to find some form of motivation and a way to score some points against an N.C. State defense ranked No. 3 in the conference, allowing 305 yards a game. Maryland has scored only 144 points in its past three games.
"When you're 2-8, you're not exactly jumping up and down going into the game," said Krivak, who has a 20-33-2 record and only one winning season at Maryland. "We're at a point where we're waiting for something [bad] to happen, then it does. You get to a point where the confidence levels starts to deteriorate under those circumstances.
"Some way, we have got to bring ourselves together and get one more solid effort."
Maryland players don't know if all the talk about Krivak's return will affect the team's play.
"I've heard that kind of talk ever since I came here," said Maryland junior inside linebacker Dave Marrone. "There is really nothing we can do about it. We were brought here to play football, not worry about administrative decisions. That's the way I'm approaching it."
Maryland sophomore H-back Frank Wycheck said: "But as much as you try to put it away, there's always that little something in the back of your head reminding you about the situation."
Here's something Krivak won't let the Terps forget: N.C. State (8-2, 4-2), bound for the Peach Bowl, has been beatable in the last month, losing to Clemson, 29-10, and Virginia, 42-10. The Wolfpack had to pull off a last-minute, 32-31 win over Duke last week.
"We seem to play them close all the time," said Krivak. "They're struggling, but they still seem to find a way to win. That's how we have got to react."
The Wolfpack wins with defense, and it has two of the best cornerbacks in the conference in junior Sebastian Savage and senior Wade Burton. N.C. State is allowing only 180.2 passing yards. Maryland is averaging only 162 yards passing and is last in the conference in total offense with 269.4 yards.
Defensively, Maryland might fare a little better. N.C. State, going for its first nine-win season since 1978, has not been much of an offensive team in the past five years, but this year has fared slightly better, averaging 342 yards per game.
The Wolfpack, because of injuries, will start freshman quarterback Terry Harvey for the second straight week. Harvey completed 17 of 27 passes for 204 yards against Duke. The Terps have had trouble stopping any team's passing attack, allowing 236 yards per game.
But N.C. State coach Dick Sheridan says there is no way his team will overlook Maryland.
"All our players need to know is that Maryland beat Virginia, regardless of what time of year it happened," Sheridan said. "Their coaching staff has done an excellent job keeping the fire lit in this team."
College football today
O? Maryland (2-8) at No. 22 North Carolina State (8-2), 1 p.m. Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WRC (980 AM)
Wake Forest (2-8) at Navy (0-9), 1:30 p.m. Radio: WYST (1010 AM), WNAV (1430 AM), WMAL (630 AM)
Youngstown State (7-3) at Towson State (1-9), 1:30 p.m. Radio: WITH (1230 AM), WTMD (89.7 FM)
Complete schedule, Page 11C * What's on television, Page 4C