Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te’o went home to Hawaii this off week, but the hits — or awards — just keep on coming.
First, Te’o was honored by being on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated magazine. Then, Te’o was named Chuck Bednarik Player of the Week by the prestigious Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia.
Finally, he was named Lott IMPACT Player of the Week (another high profile defensive award from the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation of Newport Beach, CA) for the second consecutive week!
And all he wanted to do is be with his family…
To recap, Te’o merely recorded eight tackles, intercepted two passes and forced two more interceptions with pressure to Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and running back Vincent Smith. The hurries applied by Te’o caused Robinson and Smith to rush pass attempts that were intercepted by Bennett Jackson and Nicky Baratti.
Meanwhile, Manti’s team, a little school in Indiana called Notre Dame, defeated No. 18 Michigan, 13-6, to improve to 4-0 for the first time in ten years. Te’o and the Irish forced six turnovers and kept the Wolverines out of the end zone for the first time since losing to Ohio State in 2007.
More importantly, he kept the Wolverine fans from celebrating over the Irish for the first time in his career.
Manti Te’o leads the Irish with 38 tackles and has added two tackles for loss. His three interceptions and two fumble recoveries are career highs and also lead the team. And if I’m not mistaken, he also leads the team with as many salutes to the heavens (where his girlfriend and grandmother now reside) as he has tackles.
But much cooler than the personal awards are the team stats (not to be confused with the team “tatts” which, led by Carlo Calabrese‘s collection, seem to be multiplying as well) the Irish defense is accumulating. They have allowed only 36 points this season, ranking fourth in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense, allowing nine points per game.
The Michigan game also marked the second time in two weeks that Notre Dame held a ranked opponent to six or fewer points. Notre Dame has not accomplished such a feat since 1943, the year the Irish victory over Michigan so angered the Wolverines that they cancelled the series for 35 years.
“I’m taking being a leader on this team very seriously and it’s very humbling,” Te’o said last week. “The sky’s the limit for not only this defense, but this team.”
I guess Te’o is getting his teammates to look to the heavens too.
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