Flashback Friday: When Auburn and LSU caused an earthquake

Despite being division mates in the SEC West, the Tigers (Auburn and LSU) have only faced each other 47 times. LSU holds a 27-20 lead in the series. Since 1992, the schools have played every year with LSU winning 12 games and Auburn winning 10.

One of the most memorable games of the series was staged in 1988. Coached by Pat Dye, Auburn raced out to a 4-0 record with victories over Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.

LSU’s season didn’t start as well as they had the unenviable task of facing three Top 25 teams in their first four games. They started off with a 27-0 win over No. 10 Texas A&M and then won at Tennessee. After that it was losses at No. 18 Ohio State and No. 17 Florida and LSU limped into its game against Auburn at just 2-2.

With just under two minutes left in the game, Auburn led 6-0 and what came next is still being talked about today… but NOLA.com’s Jim Kleinpeter reminds us that this game wasn’t just about one play for LSU:

— Tight end Willie Williams, seldom used as a receiver, stretching for a first-down after a fourth-and-9 catch and barely making it.

— The fact that the defense, which played strong all night, had to stop Auburn from moving into position for a game-winning field goal. It was the defense, not Hodson or Fuller, that received the game ball.

“You can say a lot of things about the Earthquake Game and Eddie’s catch is one of them,” said LSU linebacker Ron Sancho. “But the whole game, it was about players who would not be denied.”

“The Play” came at the end of a 74-yard drive for LSU, and on a “do or die” fourth-down play. LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson, who by all accounts had been absymal before this drive, dropped back into the pocket and got off his pass just before an Auburn defender dropped him. The ball sailed to the back of the end zone, where Eddie Fuller caught the pass for what would be the game winning touchdown.

The roar of the crowd after this touchdown registered on a campus seismograph and lives on as a part of college football folklore.

The War Eagle Reader has a fascinating article on the game, what really happened, and how the game has taken on a life of its own.

With the help of this victory, LSU finished the season 6-1 in the SEC and won the conference tie-breaker over Auburn. This Saturday, the game is at Jordan-Hare (not Tiger Stadium), but the result of this game could mean just as much to the SEC title race as the “Earthquake” game did in 1988.

About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.