Auburn led the game 6-0 with less than two minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. LSU's quarterback Tommy Hodson drove the team down the field before finally throwing a last chance 4th down touchdown pass to Eddie Fuller.
The game's name resulted from the reaction of the crowd after the final pass. According to legend, it registered as an earthquake by a seismograph located in LSU’s Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex around 1,000 feet (305 m) from the stadium. The seismograph reading was discovered the morning after the game by LSU seismologist, Don Stevenson. Stevenson submitted the reading to the Louisiana Geological Survey to have it preserved. Stevenson displayed a copy of the reading on his office window on the LSU campus that was later observed by an ESPN news crew who were on campus doing a story in 1991. The news crew decided to do a piece on what they dubbed "The Earthquake Game". This news story helped to add more attention to the event.
While the authenticity of this earthquake has been widely accepted, officials from LSU and the Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex have never provided evidence it actually occurred. The United States Geological Survey has no record of an earthquake in Louisiana on October 8, 1988.