Despite mourning the deaths of two loved ones this week, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o played Saturday night and helped lead the Fighting Irish to an upset of #10 Michigan State.

Losing a loved one is never easy. But it’s difficult to fathom just what Te’o went through this week. The star defender’s grandmother passed away on Tuesday. And less than 24 hours later, his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, lost her long battle with leukemia.

“Unfortunately, he’s gone through a very rough 24, 48 hours,” Kelly said Thursday night. “But his support and his family at home have been great, and all of the coaches and players have been there for him. He wants to be with his teammates, he wants to be with the people that care about him. He’s a strong man and he’s going through a tough time, but he’ll rise to the occasion.”

The Notre Dame defense was ferocious all night against the Spartans, and no one was more active than Te’o. The senior linebacker broke up two passes, had 12 tackles, including one for a loss, and recovered a fumble in the win.

Thanks to Te’o and his defensive teammates,  Notre Dame is now 3-0 for the first time in a decade. The upset of the Spartans was the Fighting Irish’s first win over a Top Ten team in seven years.

[Detroit Free Press]