COLLEGE PARK -- There's no place like home, especially when you're debuting in front of 30,000 to 35,000 partisan fans.
"We're in a new facility, we have a new coach and people are expecting something different from the last five years," said Maryland senior wide receiver Dan Prunzik. "The place will rock. We're excited."
Show time at Byrd Stadium is 12:10 p.m. today, when Maryland (0-1 overall, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) plays host to No. 19 North Carolina State (2-0, 0-0). Terps fans will get to see the new uniforms and watch the team exit from its new, $6.1 million football complex.
And, for the first time, an exact replica of Maryland's mascot, Testudo, will be on display. Maryland players will touch its nose for good luck before going onto the field, as Clemson does with Frank Howard rock before running onto the field at Memorial Stadium.
This place has gone rah-rah mad.
"It's the first home game and we're anxious to show people what we can do," said Maryland's Richie Harris, a senior wide receiver. "We've got a fun offense. We've got a fun defense. It's all on display at home today."
Actually, it will be interesting to see if the Terps are indeed sky high or just talking a good game. First-year coach Mark Duffner had to address the team Thursday afternoon because of two lackluster practices Tuesday and Wednesday.
Certainly, the Terps are going to need a great effort today.
The Wolfpack offense has scored 59 points in victories over Iowa and Appalachian State. N.C. State running back Anthony Barbour is averaging 90 yards per game and 8.2 per carry. Maryland allowed 173 rushing yards to Virginia last week.
The key for Maryland is stopping quarterback Terry Jordan, who is averaging 296 yards passing, but is just as big a threat on the option.
"They beat a ranked Iowa team, a team they weren't supposed to beat, and then they beat up on Appalachian State, which was really a pickup game for them. So you know they're feeling good about themselves," said Maryland senior linebacker Mike Jarmolowich.
"We've got to stop Jordan on the option, and also contain their speed," Jarmolowich added.
Maryland, though, does present some problems to N.C. State. The Wolfpack has had problems against the run-and-shoot offense, and coach Dick Sheridan expects more of the same today. Terps quarterback John Kaleo threw 53 passes, completing a school-record 32, for 270 yards and two touchdowns last Saturday against Virginia.
"We have not seen anyone execute the run-and-shoot as well as Maryland did last week," Sheridan said. "They really play it at a different level than any of the teams that have played that offense against us. It certainly gave Virginia problems. We have to play better against it than we have in the past to be successful."
Duffner said: "We plan to be explosive. That's certainly our goal. We'd like to be as balanced as we can, but what the defense gives us will dictate how much run and how much pass we use."
NOTE: For the first time, Maryland football fans will have to pay for parking today. The charge is $5 for cars, $10 for recreational vehicles. Season-ticket holders can buy parking passes, although not at a reduced cost ($30 for cars for six home games, $60 for recreational vehicles).