SAN DIEGO – Jerry Kill said he was overcome with pride watching on television, as Minnesota defeated Washington State 17-12 in Tuesday night’s Holiday Bowl.

The former Gophers coach has been hired as the offensive coordinator at Rutgers after spending this season as an associate athletics director at Kansas State. But Kill said his heart will always be with the Gophers, and their current coaching staff, led by his longtime assistant Tracy Claeys.

“That’s probably one of the greatest coaching jobs of all-time,” Kill said via telephone. “With all that stuff going on, and all the things those kids have gone through -- from their old coach to the new coach to all the stuff they had to handle -- that’s flat unbelievable the job those guys did. [Claeys] deserves a darn contract [extension]."

The Gophers were 10-point underdogs heading into the Holiday Bowl but stunned Washington State with a stifling defensive performance.

“I’m proud as heck of those kids, the Gophers and those coaches," Kill said. "It was a heck of a win, a heck of a win.”