By Ryan Thorburn

The (Eugene) Register-Guard

Next up

Utah at Oregon

When: 2:45 p.m. Saturday

TV: Pac-12 Radio: Utah by 31⁄2

EUGENE — Football coaches are always expressing the importance of playing for all 60 minutes.

Unfortunately for the Ducks, the cliché is true: Teams are required to come out of the locker rooms after halftime.

Therein lies the problem, or at least one of the glaring problems, for Oregon, which has been outscored 58-0 in the second half during its three-game losing streak and 119-56 in the second half against FBS competition this season.

Braxton Burmeister had touchdown runs of 7 and 4 yards to finish 75- and 76-yard scoring drives and tie the score against UCLA at halftime this past Saturday. Then Oregon was blanked 17-0 after the intermission in the 31-14 loss at the Rose Bowl.

The Ducks are 4-4 overall and 1-4 in Pac-12 play entering Saturday’s game against Utah at Autzen Stadium.

“Moving the ball is not the issue,” coach Willie Taggart said during his Monday news conference. “It’s us getting in our way.”

A promising drive against the Bruins to start the third quarter was rudely interrupted when defensive end Jaelan Phillips sacked Burmeister for a6-yard loss on what was supposed to be a running play.

On Oregon’s next possession, a false-start penalty turned a third-and-6 play into a third-and-11 at the UCLA 47-yard line. Burmeister passed incomplete to Charles Nelson, setting up another punt.

Burmeister was intercepted by Colin Samuel at the UCLA 3-yard line with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Burmeister recovered his own fumble for a 4-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 play. Aidan Schneider missed a 32-yard field goal at the end of a 10-play, 60-yard drive to extend Oregon’s second-half scoreless streak.

“We’ve just got to execute plays,” Taggart lamented. “In the second half of the game we were moving it down the field and then we get in our own way. I think before Justin (Herbert, the starting quarterback) went down, the Cal game, we came out in the second half and did it.

“But then after that, hell broke loose with injuries and everything.”

After Herbert suffered a fractured collarbone on a 7-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Oregon outscored California 28-17 in the second half for a 45-24 home victory.

Taylor Alie led the Ducks on three scoring drives before getting knocked out of the California game with a concussion.

Even though Burmeister has fizzled in the passing game to date — completing 27 of 51 passes (52.9 percent) for 246 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions — Taggart said the true freshman will start over Alie against Utah’s stout defense.

“Considering he didn’t have a lot of reps and where he’s going right now, I think he’s getting better each week,” Taggart said of Burmeister. “He gives us a better chance. We can do a little more with him back there.”

Oregon’s inability to play well over four quarters dates back to nonconference play when Herbert was healthy and the offense was scoring a lot of points.

The Ducks opened the season with a 77-21 romp over Southern Utah in which they outscored the outmatched FCS opponent 35-0 in the second half. But in the 42-35 win over Nebraska, Mike Riley’s Cornhuskers outscored Oregon 21-0 in the second half, and in the 42-13 road win at Wyoming, the Ducks had only a 7-3 edge after the break.

“We’ve got to play a complete ballgame. We can’t make mistakes like we do,” Taggart said. “We don’t have the depth, we don’t have as much talent as we need to be able to make the mistakes that we’re doing. With limited playmakers you’ve got to limit mistakes in order to be successful.”

A former Oregon playmaker, Darren Carrington, will return to Autzen Stadium with Utah. The Utes (4-3, 1-3) have also lost three consecutive games.

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