- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Notre Dame's overachieving secondary will have one more obstacle to overcome the rest of the season, as coach Brian Kelly said Sunday that fifth-year safety Jamoris Slaughter will miss the rest of the year with a torn Achilles tendon.
Slaughter suffered the injury on the first play of the second half of the Irish's 20-3 win Saturday at Michigan State. He was on crutches after the game.
Redshirt freshman and converted wide receiver Matthias Farley likely will start in Slaughter's place this Saturday against No. 18 Michigan.
"You lose a Jamoris Slaughter, you're losing an A player," Kelly said Sunday. "Matthias is certainly not at the level yet of a Jamoris Slaughter. He's got to continue to develop, but we have a lot of confidence and trust in him. He'll be getting a lot of work back there."
Slaughter is the third member of Notre Dame's secondary to suffer a season-ending injury. Safety Austin Collinsworth underwent offseason shoulder surgery, and cornerback Lo Wood ruptured his Achilles tendon during a preseason practice.
The Irish already were entering the season with two new starting cornerbacks. Converted true freshman running back KeiVarae Russell became a first-team cornerback after Wood went down, starting alongside converted receiver Bennett Jackson.
No. 11 Notre Dame has limited opponents to 10 points per game so far, as the team is off to its first 3-0 start in 10 years.
Kelly also said Sunday that plans are being made for linebacker Manti Te'o to go home to Hawaii during the team's bye week after playing the Wolverines. Just days after the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend, who had a long battle with leukemia, Te'o had another sensational game.
"At Notre Dame, you get a chance to coach a kid like this," Kelly said. "It might be once in a lifetime. That's the kind of kid he is."
Te'o made a game-high 12 tackles, including one for a loss, and had two of the team's eight pass breakups against Michigan State while he was mourning.
"It was hard, I lost two women that I truly love," Te'o said. "But I have my family around me. I had my football family around me and my girlfriend's family around me. At the end of the day, families are forever. I'm going to see them again and it's going to be a very happy day when I do."
Even though Te'o thought about his grandmother and girlfriend during the game, he said it provided an escape.
"Football allows me to just be in the little realm, where I can just honor them by the way I play and honor my family by the way I play," he said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.