December 2

This Day in History

Sports

Dec 2, 1975:

Archie Griffin wins second consecutive Heisman Trophy

On December 2, 1975, Ohio State University running back Archie Griffin becomes the first player in history to win the Heisman Trophy two years in a row. Following in the footsteps of his three older brothers, all football stars, the young Griffin trained hard to get in shape and lose the nickname "Tank" given to him by his childhood football coaches. He had an impressive high school career, rushing for 1,737 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns during his senior year at Columbus Eastmoor High School in Columbus, Ohio. At OSU, Coach Woody Hayes hesitated before putting Griffin in the starting lineup, but relented after he put in a tremendous 239-yard performance off the bench in a come-from-behind victory over North Carolina during his freshman season.

From that point on, Griffin started every game for the Buckeyes. During each of his four years at OSU, the team won or shared the Big Ten title and went to the Rose Bowl. In 1974, Griffin became only the fifth player to win the Heisman, the coveted trophy given each year to the most outstanding player in college football, as a junior. He won in a landslide that year, receiving more than four times the number of first place votes as the runner-up, Anthony Davis of Southern California, and winning all five regions (East, South, Midwest, Southwest and Far West).

During his senior season, far from slumping, Griffin extended his stretch of 100-plus-yard games to 31 (during which the Buckeyes went 29-1-1) and amassed an NCAA record-breaking 5,177 career rushing yards. He triumphed in Heisman voting by a slightly smaller margin, taking four out of the five regions (Chuck Muncie of California took the Far West). His uniform number (45) was the first one ever retired by Ohio State.

After his graduation in March 1976, Griffin went number 21 in the NFL draft and joined the Cincinnati Bengals. He played pro football for seven years, running a total of 691 times for 2,808 yards before his only serious injury, a torn stomach muscle, ended his career. Griffin returned to his alma mater in 1984, becoming associate athletic director and later president of the OSU Alumni Association.

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