COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Short on experience at linebacker to begin with, the loss of senior Etienne Sabino will force Ohio State to deal with even less of it for about a month.
Sabino left Saturday night's 63-38 win over Nebraska with a fractured bone in his right leg, and the Buckeyes confirmed it will put the team's third-leading tackler on the shelf for this week's trip to Indiana and likely three more games after that.
Mostly a backup throughout his career, Sabino had emerged as one of Ohio State's most consistent defensive performers during the first half of the season and provided valuable leadership at a position loaded with young players -- including freshman Joshua Perry, who will start in his place Saturday.
"Tremendous blow," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said during his Monday news conference. "He's a very good player, but it goes beyond that because he's like a brother to everybody on the team.
"We're going to miss him."
Sabino had 37 tackles, two sacks and an interception in the Buckeyes' 6-0 start. Senior starter Storm Klein now is the only upperclassman on the two-deep depth chart at linebacker.