Penn State’s defense challenge just got even tougher.

The Lions were already facing an uphill battle in trying to slow down Pitt running back James Conner. Now, the Lions will have to do so without arguably their top tackler.

According to Centre Daily Times’ Penn State beat reporter Jordan Rodrigue, middle linebacker Jason Cabinda is out for Saturday’s game.

Cabinda led the team in tackles in 2015 and he led the team with 11 tackles in last week’s win against Kent State.

That’s a tough blow for a group that isn’t particularly deep at linebacker. The Lions could move Nyeem Wartman-White back to his traditional position of middle linebacker and put Brandon Bell at weak-side linebacker and put Manny Bowen at strong-side linebacker.

Whatever Penn State does, the PSU linebackers will have to pick up the slack in Cabinda’s absence.