Tigers must cure 4th quarter woes

CLEMSON - The statistic is almost too depressing for Kyle Parker to think about but it can't be ignored. Clemson hasn't scored a fourth quarter touchdown in nine games, dating back to Nov. 8, 2008.

"The biggest thing is we want to win the fourth quarters and we have to do better at that if we want to win games," he said.

Out of 120 FBS teams, the Tigers are 84th in scoring and 102nd in total offense through five games this year. C.J. Spiller, who has two of the seven offensive touchdowns, said it's merely a matter of execution for the offense to get on track.

"We're just not really executing on the offensive side," he said. "The defense is playing well and the special teams are playing well. The offense has just got to execute."

Spiller takes some of the blame onto himself.

"I've got to make sure I'm playing at the highest level so it can flow down to my teammates," he said. "If we practice execution, I think it will really go on to the game field."

Spiller is responsible for Clemson's last fourth quarter touchdown, a two-yard run during the 41-27 loss at Florida State.

In the final four games against Duke, Virginia, South Carolina and Nebraska, Clemson didn't reach pay dirt in the fourth quarter.

Offensive coordinator Billy Napier said, "I think a lot of it might be a product of the kind of games they were."

Last year, the 31-7 win over Duke and the 31-14 win over South Carolina were both well within hand by the fourth quarter, as was the case in the 37-14 win against Middle Tennessee to open this year.

But that doesn't overshadow the fact.

"Obviously you'd like to score touchdowns in the fourth quarter but it's something we're looking in to," Napier said.

"We definitely have to get better in those quarters later on," Parker said.

For the offense to be successful, Mason Cloy said everyone must be clicking. He believes there wasn't a full game's worth of effort last year, which isn't the case now.

Cloy said the lack of trips to scoring has been a combination of issues: poor field position, burning out, giving up a sack—anything.

"Obviously, we haven't put ourselves in position to score," he said. "I know last year we struggled a lot to finish games and I feel like we're doing a better job of that this year.

"I know we're killing ourselves when we get into the red zone but I think a lot of it is we weren't giving the full effort we needed to last year. I feel like we're doing that this year."

Across the board, Napier acknowledges that the team has struggled in the second half this year after usually jumping out to quick starts.

"As a staff, that's one of the questions that we're looking at," he said. "What can we do more to produce in the second half?"

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