Gandolfini's Gridiron Goal

04/14/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Rutgers University Class of '83 alumnus James Gandolfini, 39, is being true to his school. The star of "The Sopranos," some college buddies and Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano have shot a commercial that touts the school's struggling football team, reports the Associated Press. In the ad, an autograph seeker approaches a table where the five fellows are sitting and gushes, "This season is gonna be great! Everybody's talking about it! . . . It's a program the whole family can get behind." As Gandolfini reaches forward to sign the autograph, the stranger gives the pen and paper to Schiano instead. "I can't take you anywhere," Gandolfini tells Schiano as a toll-free telephone number to buy Rutgers tickets appears on the screen. The ad, which according to the New York Post was directed by "Sopranos" costar Michael Imperioli, is to air April 16 on several cable stations in New Jersey, which is the home of Rutgers. Meanwhile, in Sunday's "Sopranos" episode, Mob boss Tony Soprano (Gandolfini) wasn't such a staunch supporter of education, refusing to donate $50,000 to his daughter Meadow's school, Columbia University. That is, until he is strong-armed by his wife, Carmela.

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