NEW YORK – Robert Griffin III beat out preseason favorite Andrew Luck for the Heisman Trophy, dazzling voters with his ability to throw, run and lead Big 12 doormat Baylor into the national rankings.
The junior quarterback known as RG3 became the first Heisman winner from Baylor on Saturday night by a comfortable cushion over the Stanford star.
Griffin started the season on the fringe of the Heisman conversation, a talented and exciting player on a marginal team, while Luck was already being touted as a No. 1 NFL draft pick.
Draft day might still belong to Luck, but Griffin diverted the Heisman to Waco, Texas, to a school that has never had a player finish better than fourth in the voting – and that was 48 years ago.
Right before his name was called, Griffin took a deep breath. When it was announced, he broke into a bright smile. Then it was hugs all around, for his coaches, his parents, his sister and his fiance.
He took a few long strides up to the stage and let out a laugh when he got there, making a joke about the Superman socks – complete with capes on the back – he was wearing before going into his acceptance speech.
“This is unbelievably believable,” he said. “It’s unbelievable because in the moment we’re all amazed when great things happen. But it’s believable because great things don’t happen without hard work.”
Griffin received 405 first-place votes and 1,687 points.
“Everybody associated with Baylor has a reason to celebrate tonight,” he said.
Luck received 247 first-place votes and 1,407 points to become the fourth player to be Heisman runner-up in consecutive seasons and first since Arkansas running back Darren McFadden in 2006 and ’07.
He was also first to congratulate Griffin
“Very much well deserved,” Luck said.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson was third with 138 first-place votes and 978 points. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (348 points) was fourth and the other finalist, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (327) was fifth.
Griffin’s highlights were simply spectacular – his signature moment coming on a long, cross-field touchdown pass with 8 seconds left to beat Oklahoma – and he put up dizzying numbers, completing 72 percent of his passes for 3,998 yards with 36 touchdown passes and a nation-leading 192.3 efficiency rating.
More important, he lifted Baylor (9-3) to national prominence and one of the greatest seasons in school history.
The 15th-ranked Bears won nine games for the first time in 25 years, beat the Sooners for the first time and went 4-0 in November. The last three wins were against Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas.
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