In preparation for Saturday’s matchup between Tennessee and No. 4 Oklahoma, Saturday Down South’s Jason Hall is taking a look at the key matchups that may decide the showdown between the Vols and Sooners.

Tennessee’s wide receiving corps is off to a fast start in 2014. The Vols combined for 520 yards and five touchdowns on 50 receptions through two games. Unsurprisingly, Marquez North leads with 106 yards and two touchdowns following a stellar performance against Arkansas State in Week 2. The sophomore enjoyed a breakout season in 2013 and was named to several preseason watch lists in 2014. Von Pearson also made a quick impact, providing the perfect compliment to North as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver. But the former JUCO All-American transfer will miss significant time due to a high ankle sprain.

Tennessee will a wide receiver to take on an increased role in Pearson’s absence. Sophomore Josh Smith has progressed into a solid slot receiver following a disappointing freshman season. Smith struggled through injuries and dropped passes last season and made it a personal goal to improve in 2014. Pig Howard brings speed to the Vols’ lineup as an x-factor type player. Howard has contributed as a receiver, running back and even passing the football on trick plays. Then there’s Josh Malone, who despite huge expectations, has seen the least action among the aforementioned receivers. Malone is a five-star prospect and one of the “biggest gets” of Butch Jones’ 2014 top-5 recruiting class. He is the most likely candidate to fill the void left by Pearson with the size, speed and raw ability of a potential playmaking threat.

Oklahoma boasts a talented secondary led by standout cornerback Zach Sanchez. Sanchez enjoyed a breakout freshman season in 2013 and has already matched his interception total (2) in the Sooners’ first two games. Despite suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2, Sanchez will start for Oklahoma and take on the responsibility of covering North in pass coverage. Fellow cornerback Julian Wilson started in 11-of-13 games for the Sooners last season and had 26 tackles (4.5 for loss) and three interceptions.

Strong safety Quentin Hayes started in all 13 games for Oklahoma in 2013. He ended his junior season with 75 tackles and two interceptions. Free Safety Ahmad Thomas made 12 appearances for the Sooners as a true freshman, before becoming a full-time starter in 2014. He’s already impressed with 13 tackles and a pass deflection through two games.

Tennessee’s talented pass catchers must prove their worth against an elite Oklahoma defense. The Vols have impressed thus far, but have yet to face a defense the likes of the Sooners. While Utah State and Arkansas State has talent and speed, the level of play is far superior to Oklahoma. North will need to have a big performance facing the talented Sanchez. Tennessee’s other wideouts must step up against a talented pass defense and fill the void of Pearson’s absence. Both units have strong depth and should provide an interesting matchup on Saturday.