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.
“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.
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 importantly, 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 ever and went 4-0 in November. That was after winning a total of four November games in their first 15 Big 12 seasons. And the last three games? Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas.