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.