COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland has had only one 10-loss football since 1892 — and it was just two years ago.
When this year’s Maryland team (2-9, 1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) visits North Carolina State (6-5, 3-4) on Saturday, it will try to keep from joining the 2009 squad in the school record books.
“I hate to lose,” said first-year Maryland coach Randy Edsall. “I don’t want to see a 10 up there (in the loss column). We’re gonna do everything we possibly can to avoid that.”
A loss on Saturday would also be the eighth straight for Maryland, the longest losing streak by a Terrapin team since a nine-game slide that covered the last five games of the 1991 season and the first four games of 1992.
There are some obvious parallels this year’s team and the 2009 group, which dropped its last seven games of the season. Both squads were coming off successful campaigns the year before (8-5 in 2008 and 9-4 last year), but were decimated by injuries. Then-coach Ralph Friedgen had eight freshmen start at least one game in 2009; Edsall has used 11 as starters at least once this season.
Edsall said missed opportunities, mistakes and bad luck have played a role in this year’s slide.
“Anything that probably could have gone this year has gone wrong,” said Edsall, who went 33-19 in his last four seasons at Connecticut before taking over at Maryland. “I don’t know what else could come up. But you deal with it. Each week you’re trying to do things to prevent that from happening again.”
Unlike the 2009 Maryland team, this year’s group has had trouble staying competitive. Five times during the current seven-game losing streak Maryland hasn’t been able to stay within 10 points of its opponent. The last three losses were decided by a combined 63 points.
Maryland’s 10-loss team of 2009 lost four games by four points or fewer.
Erasing some of the hurt they’ve experienced this season is keeping Maryland players motivated for the season finale.
“This is our last opportunity,” quarterback C.J. Brown said. “No one wants to go into the offseason a loser. It’s not the season we wanted, but we want to send the seniors out the right way.”
There’s also a big difference in the players’ minds between having a “9” in the loss column as opposed to a “10.”
“The biggest thing is guys persevering,” said defensive lineman Joe Vellano. “With all the stuff that’s going on, just keep fighting. Let’s stay in the single digits.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)