Eyster hoping third time’s a charm for Conerly|[11/30/2005]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Scott Eyster may forever be linked with Robert Kent in the history of the Cellular South Conerly Trophy.

Kent, a former Jackson State standout quarterback, earned a spot as a finalist for the award given to the best college football player three times.

And three times he cheered and smiled as another name was called.

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Now it’s Eyster’s turn to try for a third time to win the award named in honor of the great Ole Miss quarterback Charlie Conerly.

&#8220This is a tremendous honor for me and my family,” said Eyster, a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given to the best college player in Division II. &#8220This is three years in a row for me and I just want to thank all the media that voted for me again this year.”

Eyster lost out to Southern Miss linebacker Michael Boley last year and to Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning two years ago.

In 2005, Eyster completed 224-of-379 passes for 3,107-yards with 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Eyster was named the 2005 Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Year and First Team quarterback for work on the field. Away from the field, Eyster is an All-Gulf South Conference Academic Team selection after maintaining a 3.45 GPA in business.

In his three-year career, the Hammond, La., native has rewritten the Delta State record book. For his career, Eyster is 703-of-1,155 passing for 9,961 yards with 80 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. Eyster has also amassed 10,340-yards of total offense in his career.

Trying to keep Eyster from finally winning the award will be Mississippi State’s all-time leading rusher and an Ole Miss linebacker who burst onto the SEC scene.

MSU running back Jerious Norwood, also a finalist last year, and Ole Miss junior linebacker Patrick Willis will join Eyster as Conerly Trophy finalists.

It will also mark the second time in as many years the event will be broadcast live statewide. ESPN football analyst and Ole Miss graduate Ron Franklin will emcee the program, which will air on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

Norwood finished his college career on Saturday afternoon with a blistering performance that saw him score four touchdowns, rush for 204 yards and lead the Bulldogs to a 35-14 win over archrival Ole Miss. He ranks third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 103.3 yards per game.

He earned Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honors and is in the running for the Cingular Wireless/ABC Sports All-America Player of the Week Award.

Willis, the SEC’s leading tackler, is a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player. He averaged 12.8 tackles per game despite playing much of the season with a club-like cast protecting a broken finger on his right hand.