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Marcus Outzen dies: Ex-Florida State QB started first BCS National Championship Game under Bobby Bowden

NCAA Football: USA TODAY Sports-Archive
USATSI

Former Florida State quarterback Marcus Outzen, who started for the Seminoles in the first-ever BCS Championship Game, has died. Outzen’s death was shared on social media by his son, Colton, and later confirmed by the Tallahassee Democrat. According to the Democrat, Outzen died from complications associated with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a rare immune deficiency disorder.

A native of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Outzen — affectionately known by the nickname “Rooster” — spent five seasons in the Seminoles program under legendary coach Bobby Bowden from 1996-2000. He was famously pressed into action during the final weeks of the 1998 season after starter Chris Weinke suffered a neck injury, even as the Seminoles battled for a national title spot. 

Outzen started the final two games of the regular season, both of which carried great significance. With Outzen at the helm, the Seminoles beat Wake Forest 24-7 before closing the regular season with a 23-12 victory over rival Florida. 

The Gators were ranked No. 4 at the time, and the victory helped propel the No. 5 Seminoles up the rankings. Because of that win and other results around the country, the ‘Noles found their way to No. 2 in the BCS rankings and a date against No. 1 Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl with the national championship at stake.

The Volunteers won the game 23-16 in the third and final start of Outzen’s career. Though Weinke returned to hold the starting job for the next two seasons, Outzen remained in the program as the backup and graduated in 2000 with a business communications degree. Outzen worked for Guardian Health in the Tampa Bay Area, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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