The coaches at NCAA Division II Western Connecticut State are pretty smart. They figured out Octavias McKoy’s best position was running back.
That was apparent Saturday when McKoy set the NCAA all-divisions 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.
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 scored five TDs in his team’s 55-35 win against Worcester State.
“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 know he ran for so many yards until he saw the stat sheet.
“It was a whirlwind after that …,” McKoy said.
COUGS’ BUCANNON ON LIST
The semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, emblematic of the nation’s top defensive back, include Washington State’s Deone Bucannon.
The 15 nominees, including Oregon State’s Steve Nelson and Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, will be narrowed to three finalists Nov. 25. The winner will be announced Dec. 12.
No. 23 Michigan will play without tight end A.J. Williams against No. 24 Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich. Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said the sophomore has been suspended for one game for an unspecified violation of team rules. … UTEP quarterback Jameill Showers, who lost the battle to be Texas A&M’s starter before the 2012 season to Johnny Manziel, won’t play in his return to face the Aggies after he injured his right shoulder against Rice.