Marcus Outzen, former FSU quarterback, dies; started in the FSU title game


Former Florida State quarterback Marcus Outzen, nicknamed “The Rooster” because of his red hair and fiery demeanor, died Tuesday evening in Tampa of complications from a rare immune deficiency disease.

According to the Immune Deficiency Foundation, Outzen was recently diagnosed with HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis), a severe systemic inflammatory syndrome.

Outzen, of Fort Walton Beach, played at FSU from 1996 to 2000 and started the Seminoles' 23-16 national championship loss to Tennessee in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.

The bowl was dubbed the first BCS championship game and was played during the 1998 season.

“Marcus was a good friend to a lot of people,” said former FSU teammate Bobby Rhodes.

“People liked him, on and off the field. This is so sad.”

FSU backup quarterback Marcus Outzen takes over the starting role

Outzen was forced into action late in the 1998 season by Bobby Bowden when starter Chris Weinke suffered a serious neck injury against Virginia in mid-December.

Outzen led the Seminoles to victories over Wake Forest and Florida in his first two career starts and helped FSU advance to the BCS championship in Tempe, Arizona.

The 23-12 victory over the No. 4 Gators extended FSU's unbeaten home streak to 40 games and kept UF coach Steve Spurrier winless during his coaching career at FSU.

A scene that will also forever be associated with that game was Bowden in the locker room singing in honor of Outzen to his players. Bowden told the media that he first learned the song in a fraternity at Howard College about a farmer whose chickens stopped laying eggs.

Outzen also told the media that he “ignored the pressure” that came with the game.

“It was a big game, but I took it with caution,” Outzen told the media.

“I ignored the pressure that was put on me. I knew what I had to do to lead the team. Focusing on the pressure won’t help you.”

Outzen, primarily a backup at FSU, completed 72 of 121 for 1,074 yards and five touchdowns with six interceptions over his career.

He also had 142 yards and four scores.

Outzen worked in medical sales and lived in the Tampa Bay Area with his wife and children.

He was also an avid golfer and often played with his college roommate and best friend Brad Dempton and former FSU and Tampa Bay Bucs receiver Barry Smith.

“We’re all speechless,” Smith said.

“Marcus loved Florida State, he was a big family fan and full of passion. I am devastated for his wife and children. Every time you saw him he always had a great smile.”

Anna Harden

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