The game pitted Southeastern Conference rivals Auburn and LSU and was one of the more notable games in the Auburn–LSU football rivalry. Along with national rankings, the game also proved to be of great significance to that season's eventual SEC title. The stadium was filled to capacity and the game was being broadcast on ESPN.
Auburn led 6–0 with less than two minutes left in the 4th quarter. LSU's quarterback Tommy Hodson drove the team down the field before finally throwing an 11-yard 4th down touchdown pass to Eddie Fuller.
The game's name resulted from the reaction of the crowd after the final pass. 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.
The Earthquake Game has found its way into some aspects of LSU fan culture, such as the fan blog known as And The Valley Shook.