SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o couldn't have asked for a better way to go out in his final game at Notre Dame Stadium on Senior Day.
Te'o finished with six tackles on the afternoon in helping secure an Irish' 38-0 shut out of Wake Forest.
"That's a great way to end my career playing here in Notre Dame," an emotional Te'o said.
There were two moments from Senior Day that will stick with Te'o for the rest of his life; greeting his family on the 50-yard line before the game and the timeout Brian Kelly called to let the Notre Dame faithful give Te'o and Kapron Lewis-Moore a standing ovation for the last time.
"Oh yeah, it was everything and more," the senior linebacker said. "There was that moment and then when coach took me out, that was another moment. So definitely two things I'll always remember for the rest of my life."
The journey to get to this point -- a coaching change and no double-digit wining seasons until this year -- has been rocky for the Hawaiian-native, but South Bend will always be a place he calls home.
"There are no words that can describe what this place means to me," Te'o said. "I never thought a place besides Laie could be my home, and this has been my home and more. Just the love and everything that this community has done for me and for my team and family. I'm definitely very blessed to be here."
One person that's been by Te'o's side since they were kids is senior wide receiver Robby Toma and this journey wouldn't have had a since of fulfillment without him.
"It was the best story ever," Te'o said. To have my best friend here, my brother, I call him my twin. We obviously don't look alike, but we're basically the same person. To have him here and see the joy in his eyes and send him out with a victory like that was something that was really fulfilling for me."
The four years of his Notre Dame career aren't over at this point -- with a possibe national championship and a long-shot Heisman trophy hanging in the balance -- but Te'o summed up his time in South Bend.
"A lot of highs and lows. I wouldn't trade it for the world. These are the things that money can't buy," Te'o said. I'm just glad that I was able to make my family proud and bring Notre Dame to where it's supposed to be. College football is a lot better when Notre Dame is good. So it's definitely great to be Irish."