Notre Dame's defense loses Slaughter for the year

Associated Press Modified: September 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm •  Published: September 16, 2012
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Notre Dame's defense had a lot of hits in a dominating win over Michigan State.

The Fighting Irish, though, had a setback on that side of the ball during their first victory over a top-10 team since 2005.

Starting safety Jamoris Slaughter will miss the rest of the season after tearing his left Achilles tendon in a 20-3 win over the Spartans on Saturday night. The senior started the first three games this year and 19 in his career in which he also played cornerback and linebacker.

Sophomore Matthias Farley is expected to start in Slaughter's place when No. 11 Notre Dame (3-0) hosts No. 18 Michigan (2-1) on Saturday night.

"You lose a Jamoris Slaughter, you're losing an A player," Irish coach Brian 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."

Kelly said 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 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.

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