MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Maryland football coach Mark Duffner never misses an opportunity when trying to gain an emotional edge.
Duffner has been taunting the Terps this week, reminding them of last year's 37-7 loss to West Virginia. He has told them it was their first key loss in a miserable 2-9 season. Duffner, who was coaching Holy Cross at the time, has called the Terps' performance "uninspired," among other things.
It's all part of his psyche job for today's 1 p.m. game against West Virginia (1-0-1) at Mountaineer Field.
"He reminded us of what happened in his own little way," said Mike Jarmolowich, Maryland's senior inside linebacker and team captain. "That's the game we didn't show up. That's the game a lot of us took the week off."
It also set the tone for the rest of the season. Maryland had upset Virginia, 17-6, and played Syracuse close before losing, 31-17. If the Terps had beaten West Virginia, they would have been 2-1 with a week off before playing Pittsburgh. Instead, the Terps were crushed by the Mountaineers, allowing 334 yards rushing.
Several Maryland players also were upset that coach Joe Krivak replaced quarterback John Kaleo with injured starter Jim Sandwisch after the first quarter. Sandwisch did not practice during the week and the Terps had a rule: If you don't practice, you don't play.
Maryland was in such disarray after the game that athletic director Andy Geiger made it one of his focal points during his two-week postseason evaluation of Krivak.
"You can't pick one game as the downfall, but that game was sure the beginning," said Jarmolowich. "Guys were looking forward to having that week off, maybe that's why we played so badly. The only other game possibly worse than West Virginia was against North Carolina [a 24-0 loss].
"But I tell you what, we're going to show up this time," Jarmolowich said. "We're going to be very competitive. I'm not saying we're going to win, but it's going to be a closer game this time around."
Maryland (0-2) has come close twice with Duffner's no-huddle, run-and-shoot offense. The Terps faded in the fourth quarter of a 28-15 season-opening loss to Virginia. A week ago, they had 501 yards and 28 first downs in a 14-10 loss to North Carolina State.
"I ache for our football team and the staff," said Duffner, whose offense averaged nearly 400 yards in its two games. "But last week we gained something, because we now believe and know we can win. I saw it, I felt it and I heard it on the sidelines.
"No one enjoys losing, especially because this team could be 2-0 after playing two Top 20 teams. Now we have to move forward. We let both games get away from us."
The Mountaineers will be riding some momentum of their own. Last week they routed Pitt, 44-6, the largest margin of victory in the 85-year-old series.
But Pitt ran a multiple pro set formation. West Virginia hasn't faced anything like Maryland's run-and-shoot.
"Practicing for their offense is very difficult for us," said West Virginia coach Don Nehlen, whose team is allowing 328 yards per game. "It's difficult to emulate. They run four wide receivers. I can't get a scout-team quarterback to run all their plays -- I can't get him to run all ours. . . . It's an entertaining offense to watch. It was entertaining for me to watch them against N.C. State. I don't know how entertaining I'm going to think it is if they complete 50 passes against us. It's a lot of challenges for our entire team."
Nehlen is just as concerned about Maryland's defense.
"They're very unorthodox on both offense and defense," said Nehlen. "Offensively, they're throwing the ball all over America. Defensively, I still don't even know what they play. That tells you how good our game plan will be. I don't know the defense."