Malzahn's offense managed just three points and 116 total yards in the first half and didn't get its initial first down until midway through the second quarter.
"We weren't very happy and I am sure our players weren't either, but the thing about it is our players knew it was sloppy football," Malzahn said. "Those guys were just as upset as the coaches.
"We decided we were going to correct some things in the second half and to our guys' credit they did that," he said.
Auburn more than doubled its yardage total by the end of the third quarter and moved ahead 24-17 with three touchdowns from the offense on drives of 61 yards in six plays, 72 yards in eight plays and 83 yards on two plays with a bomb of 78 to Terrell Zachery for the go-ahead score.
That was a big difference in what Auburn fans at soldout Jordan-Hare Stadium witnessed in the first half. "We weren't in a rhythm and it was ugly football," Malzahn said. "That is not acceptable. We have to figure out a way to be more consistent.
"At times we looked like a solid offense, but we have to figure out a way to do it for a whole game," Auburn's second-year offensive coordinator said.
Malzahn gave the visitors some credit for giving Auburn problems. "Clemson is a very good football team," he said. "I think we will figure that out the farther we go. They have very good players and excellent coaches.
Auburn racked up 258 yards of total offense and 21 points in the third quarter. "We got our rhythm and we are at our best when we get a first down and another first down and then a big play," Malzahn said. "We kind of got in that rhythm and got it going."
Malzahn said one of the reasons the Tigers picked up the pace in the second half were key catches by wide receiver Darvin Adams. "Darvin is one of the big-play guys on our team,"?he said. "We have to find ways to get him the ball. He jump-started us in the third quarter by making some big plays. He made some big plays."