Robert Griffin III: The Leading Heisman Candidate After Week 1

Lake CruiseAnalyst INovember 20, 2016

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 8:  Quarterback Robert Griffin #10 of the Baylor Bears runs the ball during the game against the Texas Longhorns on November 8, 2008 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Texas won 45-21. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Will Robert Griffin III remain hotter than the Texas heat for the remaining schedule? The way he was pinpointing the ball in the first game of the season, he could vaunt past Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore if the latter two regress this season.

The Stanford quarterbacking protégée of San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, Luck is almost everyone’s favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this season. Griffin was, however, eating the TCU Horned Frogs like they were a San Francisco treat.

He treated the fans in Waco to 340 yards and five touchdowns passing with more than five minutes still left in the third quarter. His fifth strike was yet another perfectly dropped-in pass.

This one connected with receiver Terrance Williams along the right sideline on 3rd-and-6. Griffin had already connected with his favorite receiver, Kendall Wright, and the speedy Lanear Sampson. Griffin’s fifth touchdown pass made the score 47-23, with the extra point.

The Bears were unranked coming into the TCU game, but they left the Horned Frogs limping off the field in Waco. The turn-around from last season’s game was astounding; TCU blew Baylor out, 45-10.

The Frogs were undefeated last season and won the 2011 Rose Bowl over a very strong Wisconsin team. They did it with the passing of Andy Dalton—now with the Cincinnati Bengals—and the No. 1 defense in the nation.

STANFORD, CA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal leads memebers of his team out for warm ups before their game against the San Jose State Spartans at Stanford Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

While TCU’s defense has slipped this season, obviously, the reason in the first game could have been due to the dynamic Baylor offense. Wright is a senior and has played on the Bears basketball team. His outstanding athleticism shows. Sampson is a junior and reputed to be BU's fastest receiver on the roster.

With those two explosive weapons, plus Williams and breakout-year candidate running back Terrance Ganaway, Griffin could continue to kill opposing defenses. While Wright has been one of the best receivers in Baylor’s football history, Griffin has been the school's best offensive player.

The TCU cornerbacks can’t be blamed for everything. The Bears did a great job in their protection schemes. If they keep it up all season, Griffin definitely has the chance to leapfrog Luck and all others as the Heisman favorite.

After trying to run out the clock far too early, the Bears and their Heisman hopeful watched as TCU climbed back to take the lead 48-47. “RGIII” proceeded to lead the Bears down the field to the go-ahead field goal (50-48) with 1:04 left in the game.

The magnitude of the upset puts Griffin’s name firmly on the Heisman map. It ended TCU’s winning streak in dramatic fashion and left egg on the faces of their proud fans.

Forget the Texas state sidewalks, some of Texas Christian University’s fans looked hot enough to fry an egg on their foreheads. They shouldn’t feel sad. BU was on fire.

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos looks to pass against the Georgia Bulldogs at Georgia Dome on September 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The fiery Heisman leader, Andrew Luck, won the 2011 Herbie Award for game changing player—whatever that is. I couldn’t help but notice a certain female standing next to Herbie while he was talking during the show on ESPN (Aug. 30). You may have heard of her—Erin Andrews. She’s long, but long is great.

Speaking of long, Griffin was a long shot to win the Heisman, but if he keeps the long shots coming via 60-yard touchdown passes, he could do some lucky things. I'd rather be lucky than good.

Back to Luck. He was responsible for three touchdowns in Stanford’s blowout victory over San Jose State. Luck threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for another.

SJSU is a respectable program, but it isn’t in TCU’s class. Griffin passed for twice as many yards and twice as many touchdowns against a much tougher opponent. The Frogs finished No. 2 in the nation last year and were ranked No. 14 coming into this season.

Griffin will have to work hard not to average 300 yards passing per game this season. For instance, if he passes for 241 yards next week, the still averages 300 per game through the first two games of the season.

As a senior this year, Luck will be lucky to average 300 through Week 2. The same goes for senior left-hander Kellen Moore.

Boise State's Moore had a big game to start the season against No. 19 Georgia. He completed 28 of 34 passes for 261 yards, but Griffin, a junior, clearly was the star of stars during the first weekend of the 2011-12 Heisman Trophy watch.


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