Te’o lost his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, on Wednesday after her long battle with leukemia. Her death came less than 24 hours after his maternal grandmother passed away.
But he decided to play Saturday night to “honor” them and to be there for his teammates.
Te’o responded by leading the No. 20 Fighting Irish to a 20-3 win over the No. 10 Spartans. He finished atop the Notre Dame tackle totals with 12, shared the lead with two pass break-ups and recovered the game’s lone fumble.
“It was hard,” said Te’o, a senior from Laie, Hawaii. “I lost a woman who I truly love, but I have a family around me and my football family. At the end of the day, families are forever and I will see them again someday.
He will always be my all time favorite football player.