CHEYNEY, PA., SEPT. 19 -- Tony Atwater scored the winning touchdown on a one-yard plunge with 20 seconds remaining and, at long last, Bowie State ended the nation's longest college football losing streak at 32 games when it defeated Cheyney University, 16-12, today.

Before today, Bowie State, which was just seven losses shy of tying the all-time record for consecutive losses by a Division II football team, had not scored an offensive touchdown this season. The Bulldogs' last victory had come in November 1983 against Livingstone.

When it was over, tears were shed by Bowie State players, cheerleaders, fans and Coach Dave Dolch.

"It's a relief," Dolch said. "It's like a monkey off our backs.

"We played two good teams before today {Hampton University and Winston-Salem} and we were in those games until the fourth quarter. We came into this game realizing that Cheyney had beaten Norfolk last week. We knew that if we could just play 60 minutes of good football, we could win.

"It's a big win for the players and especially a big win for the program," said Dolch, 32, in his second year as Bowie's coach.

The longest active losing streak now belongs to Columbia University, which lost to Harvard, 35-0, for its 32nd straight loss. Columbia has not won since Oct. 15, 1983.

"We had good field position most of the day," Dolch said. "Our defense did a very good job but the special teams kept us in it."

A big play by the defense gave Bowie State (1-2) a 9-6 lead with 10:39 left. Linebacker Deveron Blount tackled Cheyney quarterback Andrew Williams trying to pass from his end zone.

But it looked to be just another Bowie loss after Cheyney (2-1) came back and took a 12-9 lead with 3:52 remaining, quarterback Rob Lewis running 10 yards for a touchdown. That score was set up after Lewis ran for 45 yards.

But Bowie's last drive ended years of frustration. Tim Stiles of Bowie returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards to the Cheyney 30-yard line. Running back John Nabinett ran 12 yards and one yard, putting Bowie at the 17 with less than a minute left.

Then running back Noel Harrison threw a 15-yard option pass to wide receiver Reggie House that moved the ball to the 2-yard line with 30 seconds remaining.

Two plays later, Atwater dived into the end zone for the game winner.