special thanks to Steven Miller - Worcester State SID
Photo by: Matt Wright - Worcester State University
WORCESTER, MA - Senior running back Octavias McKoy (Stratford, CT) set a new NCAA All-Divisions record with 455 yards rushing on 43 carries and scored five touchdowns, for the third time this season, as Western Connecticut State University defeated Worcester State University, 55-35 on Saturday afternoon.
McKoy scored on runs of 15, one, 41, 53 and 71 yards as the Colonials outscored the Lancers 35-14 in the second half after being deadlocked at 21-21 at intermission.
The previous record was held by Dante Brown of Marietta College as he rushed for 441 yards against Baldwin-Wallace on October 5, 1996.
Coming into Saturday's game, McKoy led the nation with 18 TDs and 108 points scored.
His five touchdowns give McKoy 23 on the season, in just seven games and 19 over the Colonials last four contests.
Junior Will Arndt (Newtown, CT) also had 14 rushes for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the triumph for West Conn.
The Lancers (3-4, 1-4 MASCAC) were paced by junior Dana Valentine (Roxbury, MA) also had a fine day with 106 yards rushing and a trio of touchdowns while he added 80 yards on six kickoff returns.
Third-year Pat Viencek (Bernardston, MA) went 20-for-42 through the air with 273 yards passing and two scores while classmate Casey Hippert (Douglas, MA) hauled in nine receptions for 163 yards and one touchdown.
With the Lancers up midway through third quarter, Western Connecticut (5-2, 4-2 MASCAC) scored 21 unanswered points to take a 42-28 margin on the back of a 53-yard scoring burst by McCoy with 9:10 left in regulation.
The visitors took advantage with great field position on a short punt with an 11 yard touchdown by Arndt with 4:47 on the clock in the third quarter and Arndt found the end-zone again on an eight-yard score just 55 seconds into the fourth.
With their backs against the wall, junior Mike Goulden (Rehoboth, MA) helped give Worcester State some life with his interception at midfield to help set-up a score on a 43-yard touchdown pass by Viencek to junior Jack Sprague (Maynard, MA).
On the fourth-and long play, WSCU Torey Mack (Stratford, CT) nearly had the ball picked at the 15 yard-line, but Sprague caught the deflection, tipped the ball to himself as he made the score 42-35 with 6:36 remaining.
The Lancers nearly regained possession on a successful onside kick, but were whistled for an offsides on the kickoff. After booting the deep ball to the Colonials, McCoy took the second play from scrimmage for a 71-yard blast to ice the contest with 5:49 left in the final stanza.
Western Connecticut registered the final points of the game when freshman Eddy Williams (West Haven, CT) punched in a touchdown into the end zone for the final score at the 2:42 mark (PAT missed).
The Lancers took their opening drive to the house on an 81-yard scoring hook-up between Viencek and Hippert (PAT missed) for the early 6-0 lead.
The Colonials responded midway through the first stanza on their second series of the game with a 15-yard rumble into the end-zone by McCoy with 6:22 remaining in the period for the 7-6 edge.
Worcester State came right back on their next possession with the go-ahead points and the 13-7 advantage on a one-yard dive by Valentine four minutes later.
After the two squads traded the ball on punts, McCoy did the dirty work with six rushes for 60 yards that culminated in him rushing for one-yard score with 10:33 left in the second quarter.
The Lancers then went three and out before the Colonials promptly took their second lead of the contest on a 41-yard dash by McCoy for the 21-13 score.
Before the end of the frame, the homecoming crowd was treated to three straight turnovers by both squads.
The chain of events started with a graduate student Michael Lacaria (Watertown, CT) interception at his own 45-yardline, continued on a WSU sophomore Brian Gencarelli (Niantic, CT) pick on the very next play on the Worcester State 33 and finished with a fumble recovery by freshman Jacob Jean-Baptiste (Bridgeport, CT).
Western Connecticut then missed a 37-yard field goal by junior Michael Killoran (West Hartford, MA) before the hosts tied the score 21-21 at the intermission on a 20-yard run by Valentine.
Worcester State took control to start off the third quarter by scoring on their first series of the second half.
The Lancers converted three times on third down and Valentine added 53 yards on the ground for a drive that was finished off by a one-yard Valentine score for the 28-21 game with 8:13 left in the third.
Defensively, junior Zach Skerry (Milford, MA) finished with a game-best 13 tackles (10 solo) including two for a loss and one sack. Classmate Bryan Narcisse (Medway, MA) also finished with seven stops, one sack for 11 yards and a fumble recovery.
Lacaria propelled the Colonials with eight solo tackles – including one TFL and one interception. Junior Devin Myers (Waterbury, CT) and Baptiste both chipped in with salvages off of fumbles.
Both punters had solid days with the wind. Senior Alex Blakeslee (Shrewsbury, MA) averaged 42.7 yards on nine punts with a long one of 73 yards while his counterpart, junior Ryan Falaguerra (Milford, CT), had a trio of blasts for 50.7 yards with two inside the 20 yardline.
Western Connecticut piled up 599 yards of total offense, 552 yards of which were rushing, while the Lancers had a solid attack offensively with 417 yards (144 yards rushing – 273 yards passing). The visitors also led in first downs (28-20) and had the ball for nearly 10 more minutes of play (34:42-25:18).
After starting off the game going 10-for-13 on third downs midway through the third quarter, they finished 0-for-six. West Conn was 5-for-13 on third down attempts.
Today's meeting marked the first-ever matchup between the two storied programs. They will both continue their MASCAC schedule with road games next week at 1 pm. Worcester State heads to Plymouth State while the Colonials head to UMass Dartmouth.