The final two games of the regular season will have a tremendous impact on EKU's postseason possibilities.
If the Colonels (6-3, 3-1 AQ7) win both, they will finish as the ASUN/WAC Challenge champion and earn an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs.
Two losses likely leaves EKU out of the postseason for the seventh-straight season.
A win and a loss would make the Colonels a strong candidate for an at-large playoff bid.
The EKU players and coaches are well-aware of all those scenarios.
"Every game is a big game," junior defensive lineman T.K. McLendon Jr., said. "You've got to take it one day at a time."
The next game, though, is even bigger.
The Colonels are set to take on No. 1-ranked Sam Houston State (8-0, 4-0 AQ7) today in Huntsville, Texas.
Kick-off is set for 2 p.m.
The broadcast will be available on ESPN+.
The game will mark the first time EKU has played a defending national FCS champion since 2003 (Western Kentucky).
"I'm excited for our young men to get the opportunity to play a team like (Sam Houston State)," EKU coach Walt Wells said. "I'm excited about it too."
EKU had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 31-17 loss last week on the road to Stephen F. Austin (6-3, 2-2).
The Colonels will fly back to Texas again this weekend looking to pull off a big-time upset.
The Bearkats have won 19-straight games, a streak which dates back to 2019, and are currently receiving every first-place vote in both major FCS polls.
"They've got good players and good coaches," Wells said of Sam Houston State. "We are on the road again. But, the biggest obstacle is us. That's no disrespect to Sam Houston State. I think any coach would tell you that. We are not just going to play the game. We are going to win the game. That's the mentality."
That won't be easy.
The Bearkats have been dominant all season, out-scoring their opponents 347-136. SHS is third in the country in scoring offense (43.4 points a game) and 11th in the nation in scoring defense (17.0 points a game).
All of the Bearkats wins this season have been by double-digits, except a 21-20 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 2.
Sam Houston State rushed for 403 yards in a 59-10 win over Dixie State last weekend at home.
"The only stat that matters is winning," Wells said.
The game will mark the first-ever meeting between the Colonels and Sam Houston State.
EKU had more first downs (20) than Stephen F. Austin (17) last week and had the ball for almost 35 minutes, but a season-high 11 penalties for 118 yards were very costly.
Quarterback Parker McKinney was also intercepted twice.
"When you play against a good team and you have as many penalties as we had, it's going to be tough for you," Wells said.
EKU trailed 14-0 early, but battled back to make it a one-possession, including on a 8-yard TD run by Braedon Sloan in the fourth quarter.
"We just need to stay consistent and do our thing," Sloan said. "Don't try to do too much. Don't try to be a hero."
The EKU defense might need to put together a heroic effort to slow down the Bearkats.
SHS is averaging almost 500 yards of total offense a game (fifth-best in the FCS).
"We've just got to play physical and stick with the gameplan," McLendon said. "We made some some mistakes which we can fix."
The Colonels will wrap up the regular season on Nov. 20 at home against Jacksonville State (4-5, 2-2).