Published October 28, 2013
Those coaches at Division II Western Connecticut State are pretty smart. They figured out Octavias McKoy's best position is running back.
That was apparent Saturday when McKoy set the NCAA all-division single-game rushing record with 455 yards on 43 carries against Worcester State.
The 6-foot, 200-pound senior from Stratford, Conn., had planned to accept a scholarship from Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz in 2010. But he didn't qualify academically and ended up at junior colleges in Kansas and Arizona before he landed with the Colonials.
McKoy played both sides of the ball in high school and then became a full-time defensive back in junior college. When he showed up at Western Connecticut, the new coaching staff initially pegged him as a receiver.
The coaches were so impressed with his athleticism after the first week of practice that they changed their minds, figuring it would be best to get him 20 or more touches a game in the spread offense rather than the six or seven he would get at receiver.
McKoy scored the winning touchdown in overtime to end the Colonials' 28-game losing streak last year. He has a Division II-leading 1,556 yards in seven games — including a 372-yard, five-TD performance against Massachusetts Maritime two weeks ago — for a 5-2 team that will have its first winning season since 2005.
McKoy said he got stronger as the game went on. He scored five touchdowns in his team's 55-35 win.
"I went into another gear," he said. "As the game was going on, I just told myself I've got to keep running, keep the Gatorade in me, and keep running some more."
McKoy broke the record of 441 yards by Dante Brown of Marietta College against Baldwin-Wallace in 1996. He said he didn't believe he ran for so many yards until someone handed him the stat sheet.
"It was a whirlwind after that, and now I'm here taking it all in," McKoy said. "My team supports me 100 percent. They were all excited. I'm glad I have my teammates. They were just messing with me downstairs, so they keep me grounded."
Other statistics of note from the weekend:
SHEPARD PASSES DAD: Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard passed his father, the late Derrick Shepard, on the Sooners' career receiving chart. Sterling caught five balls for 43 yards against Texas Tech and now has 78 receptions for 1,012 yards in his career. Derrick Shepard had 76 catches for the Sooners from 1983-86.
ANOTHER BAYLOR RECORD: Baylor's 743 yards in its win at Kansas were the most by the Bears in a road game and the fifth-most ever. The Bears have had at least 400 yards in 34 straight games, the longest active streak. Texas A&M is next closest, at 21 games.
FIRST DOWNS PROPEL GOPHERS: First-down success played a large part in Minnesota's 34-23 win over Nebraska. The Gophers, averaging 5.9 yards for the season on first downs, upped that to 7.7 against the Cornhuskers. Of their 430 total yards, 254 came on first downs.
GAMECOCKS GO TO AIR: South Carolina's Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson combined to go 35 for 56 for 423 yards passing in the 27-24 overtime victory at Missouri. It was the most passing yards, completions and attempts by a Gamecock team under ninth-year coach Steve Spurrier. It is also was most passing yards since the Gamecocks completed 40 of 46 passes for 490 yards at Mississippi State in 1995.
AROUND THE COUNTRY: Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey remains atop the national rushing chart at 154 yards a game after running for 119 against Colorado. Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews is second at 147.5 ... Sean Mannion threw his 30th touchdown of the season in Oregon State's loss to Stanford, and he continues to lead the nation at 407.9 yards passing a game. Mannion has been intercepted just three times ... Houston showed why it leads the nation in turnover margin. The Cougars intercepted five passes and recovered a fumble in their win over Rutgers while not committing a turnover. They are plus-20 for the season, with 27 takeaways against seven turnovers.