McKoy's long run to 455

More news about: Western Connecticut
Octavias McKoy made a name for himself in Division III after his college football career seemed stalled.
Worcester State athetics photo by Matt Wright

Western Connecticut's Octavias McKoy did the same thing so many other Division III players do on Sunday morning. He watched ESPN's Sports Center. But unlike those other players, he got to see himself on the show.

"I didn't get to see it last night. I had a chance to catch it this morning," McKoy said.

McKoy landed a segment on the show by rushing for an NCAA record 455 yards on 43 carries in a 55-35 victory over Worcester State. He also had five touchdowns on the way to eclipsing the mark that had stood since 1996.

"Alumni, friends, everyone has been calling. I am just trying to take it all in," McKoy said while in coach Joe Loth's office.

It wasn't that long ago that McKoy had finished playing football. He had stints at junior colleges in Kansas and Arizona and was working for Saks 5th Avenue in Maryland.

"I was making pretty good money at 20 years old, but I knew I still wanted to play football," McKoy said.

Despite playing high school football in Connecticut he had not been aware of the Western Connecticut program.

"As a Division I recruit I had not really heard about Western Conn. It was the just the big programs," McKoy said.

He had visited the Danbury school when the previous coach was there but was not impressed with the Colonials during their 1-28 stretch which ended last season. "The program wasn't that great," McKoy said.

Loth was hired in June before the 2012 season. He had resurrected programs at Kean and Otterbein and McKoy could sense the change.

"It was the atmosphere. This is a football school," McKoy said. "The people here are behind you. That was true even when they weren't winning. They deserve to have a winning program."

They are getting one. The Colonials are 5-2 and clinched a winning season with the victory over Worcester State.

It's a refreshing change. The Colonials were the doormat of the New Jersey Athletic Conference in recent years and are now playing in the first-year MASCAC, a group of Massachusetts state schools plus Western and Plymouth State of New Hampshire.

The NJAC is a tough league, but it would be too simple to think the MASCAC was a little magic pill that brought the Western Conn. program back to life. The signs were there in Loth's first season in 2012 when the Colonials beat the NJAC's Montclair State and gave NJAC foe Rowan a battle before losing. No. the Colonials' road to improvement began before the start of the MASCAC. But it sure is in the fast lane now.

Loth figures he must have learned something in retreading the programs at Otterbein and Kean. Otterbein had a single winning campaign in the previous 23 years before Loth landed in Ohio.

"I think I have gotten a little better at the process. It's all about the process of trying to win," Loth said.

Right now, McKoy is the centerpiece of that process. But there's a lot more.

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Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter. He has been D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist since 2007.

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