IRVING, Texas (EIU) — Eastern Illinois senior punter Cody Edwards was named one of 181 semifinalists for The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments. The award recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

Edwards is currently averaging 42.4 yards per punt this season which ranks him 24th in the FCS and third in the Ohio Valley Conference. He has five punts over 50 yards this season with a long of 74 yards. Last Saturday against Southeast Missouri, Edwards helped the Panthers flip the field against the Redhawks in the final minutes as he boomed a 62-yard punt from his own end zone that allowed EIU's defense to eventually hold on for the win over SEMO, 19-16. Edwards holds a 3.56 GPA in Biology.

Edwards is one of four players from the Ohio Valley Conference that were named semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy.

The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Nov. 1, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. Live during the event, one member of the class will be declared as the winner of the 28th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

"These 181 impressive candidates truly represent the scholar-athlete ideal," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning whose sons Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli were named NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "It is important for us to showcase their success on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. This year's semifinalists further illustrate the power of our great sport in developing the next generation of influential leaders."

Volleyball falls to SIUE

Charleston (EIU) — Eastern Illinois volleyball played host to SIUE in an OVC conference matchup Wednesday night. The Panthers lost to the Cougars in a four-set match (19-25, 25-18, 19-25, and 13-25).

The Panthers showed some fight early but couldn't hold off the Cougars who were able to capture the victory in their first encounter this season.

SIUE came out strong taking the first set 25-19. Leading the Cougars offensively in the first set was Taylor Joens who totaled six of her team-leading sixteen kills on the night. The first set included eight tie scores and four lead changes, but the Cougars were able to hold off the Panthers.

EIU was able to bounce back and claim the second set by a score of 25-18. Leading the charge for the Panthers was Maria Brown and Maggie Runge who both totaled four kills. Gina Furlin and Taylor Smith helped contribute to the Panthers' offense with six assists each.

The Cougars answered back and took both the third and fourth sets defeating the Panthers. The fourth set was the most dominant set for SIUE as they hit for their match-best .471. Jackie Scott, Kiana Fields and Joens who each totaled three kills. Scott was an offensive factor for the Cougars, finishing second on the team in kills with 11.

Leading the Panthers in kills for the night was Laurel Bailey, who finished with 13. Smith earned her sixth double-double of the season finishing with a team-high 22 assists and ten digs. Brown would also grab a double-double with her 11 kills and 11 digs. Anne Hughes led the defensive side of the court picking up a team-high 20 digs.

The Panthers return to action Saturday where they host Tennessee State in an OVC conference showdown at 2 p.m.

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