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Playing at Ohio State 'Is a Different Deal'

Over the past three seasons, Navy has faced a handful of nationally ranked teams from major conferences and played in front of big crowds at Notre Dame and at the Army-Navy game. So how will Saturday's game at No. 6 Ohio State, in front of 102,000 fans, compare with those experiences?

"They're as good as we've ever played since I've been here," Coach Ken Niumatalolo said of the Buckeyes. "This program has been in three national championship games, five BCS bowl games, they're one of the elite programs in the country. To play in that atmosphere — the biggest stadium we've played in is 85,000 — to play in something over 100,000 is going to be a totally different atmosphere. This is different. This is a different deal."

In Niumatalolo's 12 seasons at Navy (1995-98, 2002-present), the Midshipmen have faced 14 teams ranked in the Associated Press poll, with the highest being No. 7 Notre Dame in 2005. (They are 1-13 in those games; they won at No. 16 Wake Forest last season, 24-17.)

The last time Navy played a team ranked as high as Ohio State came in 1993, when it faced No. 2 Notre Dame in Philadelphia. The last time Navy played a team ranked as high as Ohio State — other than Notre Dame — came in 1984, when the Midshipmen upset No. 2 South Carolina, 38-21, in Annapolis.

After the jump, a list of Navy results against top six teams since 1980.

Navy vs. teams ranked in the top 6 of the Associated Press poll

Sept. 5, 2009 at #6 Ohio State, ???
Oct. 30, 1993 vs. #2 Notre Dame, L, 58-27
Nov. 2, 1991 at #5 Notre Dame, L, 38-0
Nov. 3, 1990 vs. #2 Notre Dame, L, 52-31
Nov. 4, 1989 at #1 Notre Dame, L, 41-0
Oct. 29, 1988 vs. #2 Notre Dame, L, 22-7
Nov. 17, 1984 #2 South Carolina, W, 38-21
Nov. 1, 1980 vs. #3 Notre Dame, L, 33-0

(I found these by checking old media guides and looking at game stories in Nexis; please let me know if I've missed some!)

By Camille Powell  |  September 2, 2009; 3:02 PM ET
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