The Colonels began the season with lofty ambitions and great expectations.
The mission was to claim EKU's first Ohio Valley Conference championship since 2011 and qualify for the Football Championship Subdivision first the first time in five years.
Heading into the final regular-season game on the schedule, the Colonels (6-5, 4-3 OVC) know they have no chance to achieve those goals.
That doesn't mean, however, that a showdown with Jacksonville State today in Alabama is meaningless.
Not at all.
"There's a lot on the line for these seniors. They've got a legacy to play for," EKU coach Mark Elder said. "They have the opportunity to have back-to-back seven-win seasons. That's a lot to be proud of. That's a great accomplishment. It's something that hasn't been done a ton around here recently."
A win over the Gamecocks (6-5, 3-4 OVC) would give the Colonels back-to-back seasons of seven or more wins for the first time since 2011-2012.
It would also be just the third time in the post-Roy Kidd era that EKU has reached that milestone (2007-2008).
"We know the standard around here is to win championships, but a win this weekend would speak a lot about this senior class helping the program advance," Elder said.
Kick-off between the Colonels and Gamecocks is set for 2 p.m. today at Burgess-Snow Field in Jacksonville, Ala.
The game will be available live on ESPN3.
"It would be great for our program to end things on a high note," EKU senior running back Daryl McCleskey said. "We just want to keep building."
To earn back-to-back seven wins seasons, this group of seniors will have to do something it has not done during their career at EKU.
The Colonels have lost six-straight against the Gamecocks — and none of those game have been decided by less than 14 points.
EKU's last win over JSU was in 2012.
"I know the seniors want to change that streak," Elder said. "They are very motivated to go down there and get this win."
While the Colonels are disappointed they didn't achieve their biggest goals, Jacksonville State has been without a doubt the biggest disappointment in the OVC.
The Gamecocks had won five-straight league championships and were 3-1 this season after non-conference wins over Chattanooga, North Alabama and Eastern Washington.
JSU lost its OVC opener to Austin Peay, 55-32, and comes into the regular-season finale in fifth place after back-to-back losses to UT-Martin and Tennessee Tech.
"They are very good team and this is a very competitive conference," Elder said of JSU. "I think they are probably feeling a lot like us. A play, a block, a catch, one decision has made the difference between them getting ready for the playoffs, just like us."
JSU had an open week leading into the match-up with the Colonels.
The Gamecocks won't qualify for the FCS Playoffs for the seventh-straight season, but they still have plenty of talent.
They lead the OVC in passing offense (294.6 yards a game) and have the one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Junior Zerrick Cooper is averaging 281.2 yards a game and has 25 touchdowns on the season. He is the only QB in the OVC with more than 3,000 yards passing.
Senior Josh Pearson (83.2 yards a game) and Jamari Hester (74.2) are among the top receivers in the league as well.
"They have great players," EKU sophomore Tucker Schroeder said of JSU. "They've had a lot of really close games. They are really good at home."
The Gamecocks are 5-1 at home this season.
EKU has lost three-straight games on the road against JSU — and were out-scored 143-35 in those losses.
The Colonels got in a position to finish the season with a winning record with an impressive performance last week.
EKU racked up seven sacks and held Tennessee Tech to 150 yards of total offense in a 22-10 win at Roy Kidd Stadium.
McCleskey had more than 100 rushing for the fifth time this season and added a touchdown run. Alonzo Booth scored his OVC-best 13th rush TD and senior Sam Hayworth connected on three field-goal attempts.
"I thought we had one of our best days, especially on defense," Elder said. "That was a very high-powered offense and our defense was lights out."
Another good day will help the Colonels keep the momentum going into the offseason and send the seniors out with another feel-good win.
"No wants to be average," EKU sophomore defensive back Daulson Fitzpatrick said. "No team just wants to be .500. We've lost five games and four of those could have gone either way. It just shows you what could have been."