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Monday, September 17, 2012
Player of the Week: Notre Dame

By Matt Fortuna

On Sunday, Manti Te'o was named the Walter Camp defensive player of the week. On Monday, the senior linebacker was named the FBS Independent defensive player of the week and the Lott Trophy IMPACT player of the week.

So yes, it should almost go without saying that he was Notre Dame's player of the week.

Te'o had a game-high 12 tackles, including one for loss. He had a pair of pass breakups, recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter and he was instrumental in limiting Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell to just 77 rushing yards. (The Spartans as a team rushed for just 50 yards.)

"We understood that's their main guy, their go-to guy," Te'o said. "Their workhorse was No. 24, so obviously we knew who they were going to go to, and we did our best to defend what they like to do."

Te'o did this all just days after both his grandmother and his girlfriend died, and he admitted afterward that, despite the escape football can provide, it was hard not to think about them throughout the night.

"Throughout the game you still think about it, but football allows me to just be in the little realm, be in the little world where I can just honor them by the way I play and honor my family by the way I play," Te'o said.

Thanks in large part to Te'o, Notre Dame is off to its first 3-0 start since 2002.