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Ex-Florida State QB and 1999 Fiesta Bowl starter Marcus Outzen dies at 46

Ex-Florida State QB and 1999 Fiesta Bowl starter Marcus Outzen dies at 46

Marcus Outzen started the 1999 Fiesta Bowl as Florida State lost to Tennessee in the first-ever BCS title game. (Scott Halleran / Allsport)

Former Florida State quarterback Marcus Outzen died Tuesday. He was 46.

Outzen was diagnosed with a rare immune deficiency disorder in 2023. He suffered from Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis — commonly referred to as HLH. The disorder causes certain white blood cells to build up and damage organs. According to the National Library of Medicine, the mortality rate for those diagnosed with HLH is 40%.

Outzen was primarily a backup in his four seasons at Florida State but was thrust into a starting role late in the 1998 season. Starter Chris Weinke suffered a neck injury 10 games into the season, and Outzen took over as the team’s starter.

He was the team’s starting quarterback in a 23-12 win over Florida to end the regular season. The Seminoles trailed 12-6 at halftime before coming back in the second half to earn a spot in the first-ever BCS title game.

The Seminoles entered the 1999 Fiesta Bowl as underdogs to Tennessee and lost 23-16 to the undefeated Volunteers. Tennessee wide receiver Peerless Price had four catches for 199 yards in the win as Tennessee won its second national title. Outzen scored FSU’s second touchdown of the day with 3:42 to go and the Seminoles got a chance to tie the game after a Tennessee fumble. However, Outzen was intercepted and Tennessee hung on for the win.

With Weinke healthy in 1999, Outzen remained the team’s No. 2 quarterback, and he appeared in 11 games as the Seminoles went 12-0 and won the national championship in the Sugar Bowl over Michael Vick and Virginia Tech to cap a 12-0 season.

Outzen again backed up Weinke in 2000, as the former minor league baseball player won the Heisman Trophy and Florida State again made the BCS title game for the third consecutive time. The Seminoles lost the Orange Bowl 13-2 to Oklahoma in what remains the lowest-scoring title game in the BCS and College Football Playoff era.

Outzen finished his Florida State career 72 of 121 passing for 1,074 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed 84 times for 142 yards and three scores.

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