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.


Robert Griffin III was speedy enough to rush for 843 net yards as a freshman quarterback at Baylor in 2008. He also was fast enough to finish third in the Big 12 Conference intermediate hurdles in his freshman year.

That was an accomplishment itself but was even more impressive considering that he was running college track in what normally would have been the spring semester of his senior year in high school -- and just after having completed spring drills in football.

However, his most impressive display of speed may have come not with his feet but with his brain.

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Draft day might very well 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 [Saturday night],” 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 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.

Luck was the front-runner from the moment in January he surprised many by returning to Stanford for one more season instead of jumping to the NFL to become a millionaire. He didn’t disappoint, with 3,170 yards passing, 35 touchdown passes, a completion percentage of 70 percent and a rating of 167.5.

Player First-Place Points
Robert Griffin III 405 1,687
Andrew Luck 247 1,407
Trent Richardson 138 978
Montee Ball 22 348
Tyrann Mathieu 34 327

Griffin put up better numbers and, essentially, out-Lucked Luck, who became a star by lifting a forlorn program at a private school out of the shadows of its powerful conference rivals.

Luck made a sensational one-handed catch early in what turned out to be a blowout victory against UCLA. Nice.

Griffin made a 15-yard reception in traffic to convert a key third down on the game-winning drive in Baylor’s opening 50-48 victory against TCU. Better.

The 6-foot-2, 220 pounder with sprinter’s speed -- he was an all-American in the 400-meter hurdles -- grabbed plenty of headlines and attention with that first Friday performance against the Horned Frogs and ended the first month of the season with more touchdown passes than incompletions.

He was an early Heisman front-runner, but he faded in October as Baylor lost three of four. Griffin continued to pile up video game numbers, but not enough to compensate for the Bears’ leaky defense.

He finished with a kick and shot up the Heisman charts on Nov. 19, when Baylor beat Oklahoma 45-38. Griffin passed for 479 yards and four touchdowns against the Sooners, including that sensational 34-yard, game-winner to Terrance Williams in the closing seconds.

He stated his case one last time -- emphatically -- on championship Saturday, capping his season with 320 yards passing and two TD passes and two touchdown runs in a 48-24 victory against Texas. It was the second straight year Griffin led the Bears past those longtime bullies from Austin.

At that point it become obvious that quarterback Don Trull’s fourth-place finish in 1963 would no longer be the Heisman standard at Baylor.

Landing Griffin, the son of two U.S. Army sergeants who settled in central Texas, was a recruiting coup for Baylor, though it was something of a package deal.

Griffin had committed to Houston and coach Art Briles, but when Baylor hired Briles away, Griffin switched up and followed the coach to a program that hadn’t even played in a bowl game since 1994.

He started 11 games as an 18-year-old freshman in 2008 and tore a knee ligament three games into the 2009 season.

He returned last year as good as new and with a newfound commitment and love of football. He threw for 3,501 yards and led Baylor to a 7-6 record and its first bowl appearance since 1994.

This season, his passing has improved and he’s still a dangerous runner (644 yards and nine TDs). He has left little doubt that he’s a pro prospect, though he’s got one more game -- the Alamo Bowl against Washington on Dec. 29 in San Antonio -- to show his stuff.

An aspiring lawyer who is working on a master’s degree in communications, he holds 46 school records and adoring Bears fans are praying he comes back for more.

Year Player School Pos. Pts.   Year Player School Pos. Pts.
1935 Jay Berwanger Chicago RB     1974 Archie Griffin Ohio St. RB 1,920
1936 Larry Kelley Yale E 219   1975 Archie Griffin Ohio St. RB 1,800
1937 Clint Frank Yale RB 524   1976 Tony Dorsett Pitt RB 2,357
1938 Davey O'Brien TCU QB 519   1977 Earl Campbell Texas RB 1,547
1939 Nile Kinnick Iowa RB 651   1978 Billy Sims Okla. RB 1,896
1940 Tom Harmon Mich. RB 1,303   1979 Charles White USC RB 1,695
1941 Bruce Smith Minn. RB 554   1980 George Rogers S. Carolina RB 1,128
1942 Frank Sinkwich Georgia RB 1,059   1981 Marcus Allen USC RB 1,797
1943 Angelo Bertelli Notre Dame QB 648   1982 Herschel Walker Georgia RB 1,926
1944 Les Horvath Ohio St. QB / RB 412   1983 Mike Rozier Neb. RB 1,801
1945 Doc Blanchard Army RB 860   1984 Doug Flutie Boston College QB 2,240
1946 Glenn Davis Army RB 792   1985 Bo Jackson Auburn RB 1,509
1947 Johnny Lujack Notre Dame QB 742   1986 Vinny Testaverde Miami (Fla.) QB 2,213
1948 Doak Walker SMU RB 778   1987 Tim Brown Notre Dame WR 1,442
1949 Leon Hart Notre Dame E 995   1988 Barry Sanders Okla. State RB 1,878
1950 Vic Janowicz Ohio St. RB / P 633   1989 Andre Ware Houston QB 1,073
1951 Dick Kazmaier Princeton RB 1,777   1990 Ty Detmer BYU QB 1,482
1952 Billy Vessels Okla. RB 525   1991 Desmond Howard Mich. WR 2,077
1953 Johnny Lattner Notre Dame RB 1,850   1992 Gino Torretta Miami (Fla.) QB 1,400
1954 Alan Ameche Wis. RB 1,068   1993 Charlie Ward Fla. State QB 1,743
1955 Howard Cassady Ohio St. RB 2,219   1994 Rashaan Salaam Colo. RB 1,743
1956 Paul Hornung Notre Dame QB 1,066   1995 Eddie George Ohio St. RB 1,460
1957 John David Crow Texas A&M HB 1,183   1996 Danny Wuerffel Fla. QB 1,363
1958 Pete Dawkins Army RB 1,394   1997 Charles Woodson Mich. CB / PR 1,815
1959 Billy Cannon LSU RB 1,929   1998 Ricky Williams Texas RB 2,355
1960 Joe Bellino Navy RB 1,793   1999 Ron Dayne Wis. RB 2,042
1961 Ernie Davis Syracuse RB / LB 824   2000 Chris Weinke Fla. State QB 1,628
1962 Terry Baker Oregon St. QB 707   2001 Eric Crouch Neb. QB 770
1963 Roger Staubach Navy QB 1,860   2002 Carson Palmer USC QB 1,328
1964 John Huarte Notre Dame QB 1,026   2003 Jason White Okla. QB 1,481
1965 Mike Garrett USC RB 926   2004 Matt Leinart USC QB 1,325
1966 Steve Spurrier Fla. QB 1,679   2005 Reggie Bush * USC RB 2,541
1967 Gary Beban UCLA QB 1,968   2006 Troy Smith Ohio St. QB 2,540
1968 O. J. Simpson USC RB 2,853   2007 Tim Tebow Fla. QB 1,957
1969 Steve Owens Okla. RB 1,488   2008 Sam Bradford Okla. QB 1,726
1970 Jim Plunkett Stanford QB 2,229   2009 Mark Ingram Ala. RB 1,304
1971 Pat Sullivan Auburn QB 1,597   2010 Cam Newton Auburn QB 2,263
1972 Johnny Rodgers Neb. RB 1,310   2011 Robert Griffin III Baylor QB 1,687
1973 John Cappelletti Penn State RB 1,057     * -- Vacated