CLEMSON, S.C. - The last time a University of Maryland football team won here, in 1985, Bobby Ross coached the Terrapins and LaMont Jordan had celebrated his seventh birthday earlier in the week.
The last time Maryland scored a touchdown here, in 1991, Ron Vanderlinden was a year removed from helping coach the Colorado Buffaloes to a share of the national title.
Get the picture?
This hasn't been just Death Valley for the Terps. It's dearth valley.
Don't expect the landscape, or the outcome, to change tonight when Maryland (2-3, 0-2) plays fifth-ranked Clemson (6-0, 4-0) at sold-out Memorial Stadium. The Terrapins are going south in more ways than their travel destination.
Things can get downright ugly for Maryland against a team with the nation's second-ranked offense and third-ranked defense. Conversely, the Terrapins are ranked 80th offensively and dead last defensively among 114 Division I-A teams.
"There isn't a weakness on this football team," said Vanderlinden, speaking of the Tigers and not his Terrapins. "It will be a very challenging environment for our football team to go into."
Given Maryland's most recent performances, the Terrapins will likely be in for a long night. They suffered a 59-7 trouncing by then-No. 1 Florida State two weeks ago in College Park and a 31-23 loss that was more one-sided than it looks at Virginia last week.
Given his team's 42-30 victory last year at Byrd Stadium - a game in which the defense allowed Jordan to rush for a then-career-high 177 yards and four touchdowns - Clemson coach Tommy Bowden doubts his Tigers will take the Terrapins and their struggling tailback lightly.
"They had a lot of success running the football," Bowden said. "It's important to stop him. He kind of embarrassed us. We had a lot of opportunities to tackle the guy and we turned them down. Like a lot of teams, we are going to try and make them throw the football."
Jordan, his preseason Heisman Trophy candidacy a distant memory, hopes to emerge from a nightmarish season. He showed some signs last week in Charlottesville with 76 yards on 20 carries, but knows he will have to do twice or three times as much to give Maryland any chance to stay in the game.
"Every individual on this team has to look at what they can do to help the team," Jordan said. "We have a lot of talent, but for some reason, we haven't shown it."
While the Tigers will focus on slowing down Jordan, the Terrapins will have to figure out the key to containing junior quarterback Woodrow Dantzler. Now among the Heisman front-runners, Dantzler broke a 52-year-old school record by amassing 435 yards in offense last year against Maryland.
"He's really quick and elusive and tough," Vanderlinden said. "He's really a terrific player. He's the guy who makes it happen."
Right now, the Terrapins don't have such a player.
Not Jordan. Not quarterback Calvin McCall. Certainly not anyone on defense. Because of that, Maryland's chances of beating Clemson for the first time since 1992 are not as good as the possibility of getting shut out by the Tigers for the fifth time since 1993.
"I don't think that we're as far away from being a solid football team as it appears," said Vanderlinden, whose eternal optimist's flame is starting to flicker. "We've got to get some confidence and some wins."