As soon as Baylor students heard the “R” sound Saturday night, the celebration was on.
A crowd of roughly 1,100 flocked to the Bill Daniel Student Center on campus to participate in a Heisman Trophy presentation watch party.
Students, many standing on chairs and couches, yelled, hugged and high-fived, and the chant of “RG3” flew through the air. Some even cried as a week’s worth of anticipation and expectation morphed into sheer jubilation.
Robert Griffin is bringing the Heisman Trophy to Waco.
“It’s an amazing moment,” Rachel Guinn, a freshman business major, said. “There are really no words to completely describe it. Robert Griffin is an amazing player. He’s got amazing stats. He’s a great guy on top of that, very well-spoken. I think we’re all really excited.”
Baylor announcer Derek Smith emceed the event, hosted by Baylor Student Acivities, and handed out prizes during commercial breaks throughout the show, ranging from T-shirts and car flags to tickets for the Valero Alamo Bowl, which pits Baylor against Washington.
The crowd cheered every time Griffin graced the big screen and groaned when the other four finalists — Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Alabama’s Trent Richardson, LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball — were shown.
Finally, it was time to announce the winner, and the room was silent until the eruption when Griffin’s name was called.
“Nothing like this has ever happened here,” Alexa Morrison, a communications major from Colorado, said. “We were the underdogs. Now look at us.”
‘Buzz around campus’
The celebration continued as the student center began to empty, with delighted fans yelling out of their cars and honking their horns.
Griffin soared to the top of many voters’ ballots after the Bears’ 48-24 win over Texas in the regular-season finale by passing for 320 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for two more.
Several straw polls throughout the week showed Griffin as the winner, and the crowd gathered expecting the best.
But that didn’t stop the emotions from flowing freely when Griffin’s victory became official.
“It’s been the buzz around campus,” Bailey Rentz, a freshman sports, sponsorship and sales major, said. “It’s so good, not just for football, but for Baylor in general, the recognition. People said this doesn’t happen to Baylor, so it just meant so much for it to happen. Robert Griffin is such a great ambassador for the school and the city of Waco, so it means a lot.”
Long day of anticipation
By the time students were allowed in the building for the watch party, the line was out the door and around the corner.
Ashley Groke, a sophomore biology major, was at the front of the line, and said she arrived some time between 2:30 and 3 p.m. for the 7 p.m. show.
Everyone who attended received a free meal from Vitek’s.
“I love football, I’m definitely a fan of RG3, so I wanted to make sure I had a good seat, had some good food and a nice view,” Groke said. “It was worth it.”