When the Auburn and Mississippi offenses are really clicking, first downs come in a blur, the plays pile up and defenses are run ragged.
The Tigers and 24th-ranked Rebels will match hurry-up, no-huddle offenses Saturday night. Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Ole Miss's Hugh Freeze share backgrounds and philosophies as former high school and Arkansas State head coaches and offensive innovators.
Freeze, quarterback Bo Wallace and the Rebels (3-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) have had an extra year to assimilate, though.
"Watching them play, it's eerily similar to what we were going through last year," Freeze said.
The Tigers (3-1, 1-1) and junior college transfer quarterback Nick Marshall are still learning in his first season running Malzahn's offense.
Neither offense is clicking on all cylinders yet. Both rank in the middle-of-the-pack in the SEC in total yards, and they're tied for 11th in scoring offense.
Both coaches would also rather you not call their offense a "spread" system. It's all about the tempo.
The similarities make it easier for both defenses to prepare for the basics of the opposing offense this week.
"Their offense is really similar to our offense, so we've really seen a lot of things they do on tape is the same thing our offense was doing in team camp and in the spring," Auburn defensive back Josh Holsey said. "We're going to be really prepared for what they come in here and try to do."
But Freeze said that only takes you so far, especially since the Tigers have had two weeks to prepare and iron out the kinks.
"We certainly can look just alike offensively, if we wanted to," he said. "We'll be able to simulate their looks very efficiently for our defense. Having said that, both of us can change a lot during the course of the week. He's got two weeks to do whatever he's going to do. I know that he'll dress things up and have some wrinkles we haven't seen."
Here are five things to watch when these two SEC West teams meet:
% Pedal to the Medal: These offenses are largely geared toward pace, which means they're awfully hard to stop when they really get going. They haven't proven ready to floor it just yet. Auburn is averaging 72.5 plays per game, and Ole Miss 73.75. But Freeze said his offense at Lambuth once ran 117 snaps, and Malzahn got in 98 last season when Arkansas State played Memphis.
% On the Rebound: Both teams are coming off their first loss, each against Top 10 teams on the road. The Rebels fell to No. 1 Alabama 25-0 in the program's first shutout in 15 years. The Tigers are coming off a 35-21 defeat to No. 10 LSU after falling behind by three touchdowns in the first half.
% Running Backs: The running backs have been the most reliable weapon for both teams. The Rebels' speedy, shifty Jeff Scott still ranks ninth in the SEC in rushing despite being held to 28 yards by Alabama. He also had 137 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards against the Tigers last season. Auburn's Tre Mason is 10th while he, Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne have all produced 100-yard games.
% Mobile Quarterbacks: Marshall and Wallace are both scramblers who can extend plays and pick up some yards on the ground. But they're near the bottom of the league in passing efficiency; Wallace is 13th and Marshall 14th. While Wallace hasn't been intercepted, Marshall has thrown four picks
% Fab Freshmen: From Ole Miss's Robert Nkemdiche and Laquon Treadwell to Auburn's Montravius Adams and Marcus Davis, both teams rely heavily on freshmen on both sides of the ball. It's entirely possible that the game could come down to one of these youngsters making plays — or perhaps making youthful mistakes.
% AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Oxford, Miss., contributed to this report.