Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o vaulted to the top of the leading tacklers list after his performance against Stanford.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound sophomore had a personal best 21 tackles in the 37-14 loss to the No. 9 Cardinal (4-0).
Te’o also played with the tenacity that coach Brian Kelly was calling for Notre Dame (1-3) to show heading into Saturday’s game.
“He played differently,” Kelly said of Te’o on Sunday. “I know he had a lot of tackles, but he played the game differently. That is a great model for us to have that we can point to moving forward defensively.”
Te’o is averaging 13.5 tackles per game, and even though he said he doesn’t feel he is separate from his teammates because of his performance, Kelly said Te’o will be pushed to the front as a model for all Irish defenders to play like.
“I think you are always looking to model that with a couple of players,” Kelly said. “You are certainly not going to get that from 22. Everybody has their own style. You are really trying to model that with a few.
“In the way they prepare and way they play the game, all those things are the reason why you have leaders and captains because you want to model them and make certain that you can point to and push out in front certain individuals. Whether (Te’o) knows it or not, he is going to be pushed out in front quite a bit because of how he handles himself.”