HEISMAN TROPHY winner Robert Griffin III is getting help in dealing with his new fame.

The Baylor quarterback confirmed that he's sometimes shadowed by security since being honored earlier this month as the nation's best player.

Griffin said he understands that, "People are going to want a piece of you when you're doing great things." He added it was a good problem to have and downplayed the new part of his celebrity.

"Life has changed," Griffin said. "I've got to realize that. I can't go to the mall, go to get a cheeseburger, without signing a thousand autographs."

Baylor spokesman Heath Nielsen clarified that the school isn't paying for private bodyguards. He said an athletic department employee follows Griffin in public to minimize demands for autographs and pictures. Nielsen said the only time he recalled police escorting Griffin was at a home basketball game.

Baylor receiver Lanear Sampson said the rest of the Bears aren't suffering from RG3 fatigue because of the way Griffin has dealt with his increased fame.

"He's handled it really well, to where I don't feel fatigue from the 'Robert, Robert,' " Sampson said.

Griffin said he tries to be the same guy, relax when he can relax, and then turn on his Baylor ambassador charm when appropriate.

He insists his focus is on helping the Bears achieve their first win in a bowl game since 1992 and not on his NFL draft status. While his parents are starting to do the necessary research, Griffin is deferring the discussion on whether he'll return to Baylor for his senior season.

"Whenever the deadline is, then I'll decide," he said yesterday, referring to the Jan. 15 deadline. "I trust my parents."

Baylor plays Washington in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Thursday.

In a game last night * 

At Shreveport, La., James Franklin ran for two touchdowns and threw for another, and Missouri easily beat North Carolina, 41-24, in the Independence Bowl.

Missouri (8-5) won its final football game as a member of the Big 12, finishing the season with a four-game winning streak for the first time since 1965. The Tigers will join the Southeastern Conference next season.

Franklin rushed for 142 yards and threw for 132, leading Missouri to an Independence Bowl-record 31 first-half points. Kendial Lawrence added 108 rushing yards for the Tigers, who gained 337 yards on the ground.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Franklin, a 6-2, 225-pound sophomore, has just started to realize his potential.

"After the game, I gave him a hug and said congratulations," Pinkel said. "Then I went back and asked, 'What happens when you get really good?' "

North Carolina (7-6) fell in interim coach Everett Withers' final game. The Tar Heels lost five of their final seven after starting the season with a 5-1 record. Bryn Renner threw for 317 yards and three TDs for UNC. Withers will become defensive coordinator at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

North Carolina had the Atlantic Coast Conference's second-best rushing defense, giving up just 106.2 yards per game, but the Tigers found plenty of running room with Franklin and Lawrence, repeatedly gashing the Tar Heels for big gains.

Lawrence rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers racked up 337 yards on the ground.

Missouri's mascot, Truman the Tiger, shattered most of the original Independence Bowl trophy in a pregame accident, so Mizzou had to accept a replacement after its victory.

North Carolina scored first, with Renner hitting Dwight Jones for a 22-yard TD with 12 minutes, 12 seconds left in the first quarter. That would be the high point for the Tar Heels.

Missouri responded with a 40-yard scoring pass from receiver T.J. Moe to Wes Kemp after a lateral from Franklin. Moe hadn't thrown a touchdown pass since his days as a high school quarterback, and it was just his second complete pass of the season.

The Tigers scored again on Franklin's 2-yard run to take a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter. And Missouri just kept piling on