By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
LITTLE ROCK (AP) - The quarterback is closing in on a record,
and the school's Web site is advertising shirts touting last week's
win over the big in-state rival.
These are exciting times for No. 21 Kentucky - and coach Rich
Brooks doesn't want them to end.
"I told my team all along that we're in a marathon, not in a
sprint," Brooks said. "I'm pleased that we're ranked - where
we're ranked is not as significant as that we're ranked. The hard
thing is to stay there."
The Wildcats are ranked by the AP for the first time since the
final 1984 poll. They'll travel to Arkansas to play the Razorbacks
on Saturday night in Fayetteville. It's a fitting matchup for
Kentucky because Arkansas was last year's big upstart in the
Southeastern Conference - the Hogs moved into the Top 25 in October
and didn't fall out until after last weekend's loss at Alabama.
Kentucky (3-0) is the last team to start SEC play this year, but
the Wildcats have been tested. They beat Louisville 40-34 last
weekend on Andre Woodson's last-minute touchdown pass.
Woodson has now gone 257 passes without an interception, 14
short of the major college record set by Fresno State's Trent
Dilfer. Naturally, Brooks is worried about jinxing him.
"Usually when you start talking about it is usually when it
ends," he said.
Woodson will face an Arkansas secondary that is still smarting
from last week's 41-38 loss at Alabama. The Razorbacks (1-1, 0-1)
rallied from a three-touchdown deficit to lead 38-31, but lost when
John Parker Wilson threw his fourth TD of the game with eight
seconds left. Dependable safety Michael Grant was moved to
cornerback this week.
The Razorbacks haven't been lacking for offense, though. Darren
McFadden ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns last week - and could
have done more if he hadn't sat out toward the end with a slight
concussion after 33 carries.
Arkansas has another terrific option in running back Felix
Jones, but coach Houston Nutt says it's hard to resist giving the
ball to McFadden.
"What's difficult is when you're standing on the sideline, and
you know that your best player gives you the best chance to win,"
Nutt said. "If he's healthy, he gets better as the game goes. He
gets stronger as the game goes. So you want him in the game."
McFadden said earlier this week he was feeling "pretty good"
and was expecting to play against Kentucky. He understands the
Razorbacks have to put the loss to the Crimson Tide behind them.
"Playing football, we know that you have to have a short
memory," McFadden said. "It's over with now, so we have to look
Casey Dick threw for three touchdowns last week, but Arkansas
has been hurt by the absence of Marcus Monk, the school's career
leader in touchdown catches. It's not clear when he might be back
from a preseason knee injury.
Kentucky receiver Keenan Burton has a sprained ankle but should
play this week. He has 21 catches for 257 yards and two TDs this
season. Woodson's numbers are also excellent: He's completed 68
percent of his passes for 743 yards with nine touchdowns and - of
course - no interceptions.
Last year Arkansas moved into the rankings after a surprising
win at Auburn, but that was just the beginning. The Razorbacks won
their first seven SEC games and played in the conference title
Kentucky has a ways to go before accomplishing that. But on the
heels of last year's 8-5 record, the Wildcats' fast start in 2007
has them dreaming big - and breaking out the usual clichDes about
not getting too high after an exciting win.
"We can't let it get to our heads," center Eric Scott said.
"Our goal was SEC championship and winning every game we can."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)