By Nick Talbot • The Cove Herald
NEW YORK - Last Friday, Robert Griffin III stood behind the Heisman Trophy with his fingers crossed.
Saturday, he got to pick up the 25-pound bronze statue and raise it high - as if he was as strong as Superman.
And to the Baylor Nation, maybe he is.
Griffin, who wore Superman socks with a cape on them for the Heisman Trophy ceremony Saturday at the Best Buy Theater in New York City, beat out Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck to win the 77th Heisman Memorial Trophy.
"Most of the time you only get one chance to come to the Heisman - Andrew Luck had two - but if you can go to the Heisman you wear your best suit, best shoes and your best socks and these are the best socks I have," said Griffin, who is the first Heisman winner from Baylor.
Getting serious, Griffin added: "This is not an individual award. This is about the Baylor Nation. Last year our slogan was rise up and we have certainly done that. We will bring this home and hopefully inspire people to chase their dreams."
Dream comes true
The former Copperas Cove great won with 405 of a possible 846 first-place votes and 1,687 total points to finish ahead of the runner-up Luck with 1,407 points and 247 first-place votes.
"I made my dream a reality, and I could not have done it without the support that I have had from my teammates and from the city of Waco embracing me. They didn't have to do that because I was from a rival - Copperas Cove."
After forgoing the NFL draft to play his senior season at Stanford, Luck was the preseason favorite to win the trophy and be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. At the moment, at least he still can be the No. 1 pick.
The trophy now belongs to Griffin and Baylor.
Other Heisman nominees were Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. Richardson finished third with 978 points, Ball fourth with 348 and Mathieu fifth with 327.
"For the recognition he has received, I am very happy for Robert; and my wife (Jacqueline) is very happy for him," said Griffin's father, Robert Jr.
Best Baylor season
Griffin, a fourth-year junior, finished the season as the nation's top-rated quarterback, completing 72.3 percent of his passes for 3,998 yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 642 yards and nine scores as Baylor went 9-3 - its best season in 25 years - and had a winning record against Big 12 Conference opponents for the first time.
No Baylor player had ever finished higher than fourth place in the Heisman voting. Don Trull took fourth in 1963 and Larry Isbell finished in seventh place in 1951. Thursday, Griffin III also became the first Baylor player to win the Davey O'Brien award.
"This outcome, in our minds, wasn't by chance - it was by design," said Baylor head coach Art Briles. "This award is the result of Robert's dedication and discipline and the support of our team and football program. This is the exclamation point on the direction of Baylor football and Baylor University."
Griffin was aided in his Heisman win by timing. Heisman moments in late-season games seem to matter more than ever - especially now that ballots were done electronically as late as Monday. Griffin punctuated his Heisman candidacy by contributing four touchdowns during a 48-24 nationally televised blowout of the Texas Longhorns as Griffin threw for 20 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for two more.
"It seemed like the script was written perfectly for us to go out and win this award," Griffin said. "To have those guys not have a game and to have us play a big-time opponent in the least week was huge. ... We won the game in convincing fashion and it helped us win this award."
Griffin received less than 20 percent of the cumulative points in the first two weeks of voting, but that number surged to nearly 35 percent after the Texas game - when 80 percent of the votes came in. Griffin also dominated in the South - even over Richardson and Mathieu - winning every region except the Far West, where Luck won. Another factor that aided Griffin in the win was that he achieved all of this at Baylor, a team that isn't used to contending and has never had a Heisman Trophy winner.
"Things haven't been great at Baylor for a while, but we are turning the curb and climbing that mountain and I am proud to be a part of it - not the part of it," Griffin said.
It is a part now, though, that has a Heisman.