By Rick Rogers
WACO, Texas — Surrounded by a cluster of children dressed in Baylor Bear green and gold and with flashes popping nearly every second from the photographers following his every move, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III couldn’t keep the big grin off his face.
Life is good when you are a quarterback that leads an offense in putting up crazy video-game-like numbers — and your team wins.
Griffin dazzled as a dual-threat quarterback by passing for 406 yards and three scores and running for another 64 yards and one TD to lead a Baylor offensive attack to a 42-39 win over Missouri on Saturday, Nov. 5. Griffin’s efforts helped Baylor finish the game with a school-record 697 yards total offense.
Life is good for a quarterback that hit the 400-yard passing mark for the third straight game, and who now has his Bears (5-3, 3-2 in the Big 12) one win away from being bowl eligible for the second-straight season.
Life is also good when you snap a two-game road losing streak and do so by beating a Missouri team that went into College Station the week before and upset a nationally-ranked Texas A&M team.
“It feels good to come back home and right the ship,” Griffin said of getting the win over Missouri after back-to-back road losses at Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. “It is about scoring touchdowns, and we did that tonight. (The win) lets our fans know that when we play at home, we are going to have a great showing. Not that we won’t win on the road, but you know how fans can get sometimes — they might lose faith. This was a big win against Missouri, and this will let the fans know that they need to keep purchasing tickets.”
Griffin seems comfortable in the spotlight. He cracks jokes during his post-game press conference. He interacts with the pint-sized Baylor fans who surround him on the field at the end of the game, asking for autographs, wristbands and for him to stop on his way to the locker room for pictures.
The Bears are Griffin’s team.
Baylor is Griffin’s university.
Waco is Griffin’s town.
Ask anyone who follows Baylor football, and for that matter those who don’t, what “RG3” stands for, and they will be quick with an answer, Robert Griffin III.
While Griffin’s first two 400-plus yard passing games didn’t go unnoticed, they were a little hard to swallow for the quarterback and the Bears because they came in a pair of lopsided losses to the Aggies and Cowboys.
Griffin’s third 400-yard passing game — he came into the game as the nation’s second-most accurate passer in college football — was something to savor.
Griffin passed for two touchdowns in the second half, including a 68-yard score to receiver Tevin Reese, who bobbled the ball en route to the end zone. Those touchdown strikes proved critical as the Bears and Missouri combined to score 39 points in a fourth quarter that turned into a track meet.
The Bears are one win away from being bowl eligible, but Griffin understands that one victory will not be easy. The Bears will have to travel to play the struggling Kansas Jayhawks Saturday in Lawrence, followed by three home games to end the season against Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1), Texas Tech (5-4, 2-4) (at Cowboys Stadium) and Texas (6-2, 3-2).
“Every game in the Big 12 is going to be a tough game,” Griffin said. “We have to protect our house. Kansas is not going to be a walk. Everybody we play is going to be a tough game. For us to get this win helps us, because we can go on the road next week and get a win and get bowl eligible, which is one of our goals.”
Rick Rogers is a freelance sports reporter for Athlon Sports. Channel and article photos by Rick Rogers