1. The Beavers are 2-6 but almost knocked off both Utah and Washington State. How where they able to play with those two top tier teams?
This Beaver team has shown great improvement compared to last years squad, even if the record doesn't exactly reflect it. They've been competitive with some talented teams (especially at home). The Utah game was a wild one just because they played in insanely stormy weather. Neither team could throw the ball with any consistency, which lead to a low-scoring affair. Last week, Oregon State jumped on Washington State early, but couldn't hold on for the win. Being a young team, games like those are expected, but it was no less frustrating. To answer your original question I think the Beavers kept those games close due to a combination of playing at home, catching the opponent by surprise and just simply playing with toughness/pride.
2. Washington State's head coach said the Beavers roster was just as good as the Cougars. So who are the standouts that bring this young roster to that level?
Gary Andersen didn't appreciate Leach's "compliment" but that's a story for another day. The Beavers are obviously rebuilding and playing tons of freshman and newcomers on defense. Watch for Ryan Nall and Victor Bolden on offense though, both are capable of breaking off a big play at anytime. On defense Oregon State has relied on seniors Caleb Saulo, Treston Decoud and Devin Chappell. Also, linebacker Bright Ugewoebu will miss the first half of the Stanford game thanks to a targeting call against WSU, but look for him to come out fired-up in the second half.
3. Stanford's defensive line is coming off a five sack performance and on offense the line got McCaffrey to 169 rushing yards. How will the Beavers try to win the trenches?
Oregon State struggled on both sides of the line early in the season, but after the Colorado game they shuffled their offensive line and seemed to have figured it out. On defense, they still struggle to stop the run and get pressure on opposing quarterbacks though. McCaffrey and company will be a great challenge for the Beavers defensive line/linebackers.
4. Both of the Beavers wins are at home and their solid games mentioned earlier also at home. How does Oregon State take this game on the road?
Despite being winless Oregon State has been competitive on the road in some games. They took Minnesota down to the wire to open the season and beat the spread against Washington despite playing with their third-string quarterback and running back. It'll be interesting to see how this young team bounces back from a tough loss though, but I expect the Beavers to fight and keep this game close on Saturday.
5. How do the Beavers get the offense that out scored Cal to show up this weekend as opposed to the one that put up only six against Colorado?
Oregon State has found greater success on the ground than through the air. Cal literally could not stop the Beavers run game. I mentioned earlier that after the embarrassing game against Colorado, Oregon State shuffled their offensive line. The key for the Beavers will be their quarterback Marcus McMaryion. He's made some strides since taking over the starting job after Darell Garrison's season ending injury, but he needs to complete passes down the field to keep the pressure off the run game.